Dorothy Boyd in Jerry Maguire (1996)
“This is an occasion for genuinely tiny knickers.”Being a romantic/comedy lead is something that seems less than impressive but even though it’s Cuba and Tom who were nominated Renee’s Dorothy is imperative to this one. It’s such a sweet performance (no other words come to mind) and overflows with honesty, which is important to measure of protagonist against. Without her, it would be difficult to love Jerry as much.
Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary
“ I just want to be inspired.”It’s her first Oscar nominated role, and it’s become a little less prestigious because of that sequel but the whimsy humour of this one is irresistible. No, it’s not Pride & Prejudice (regardless of what they say) but it’s funny enough and Renee sells it all – the insecurity, the accent and the humour.
Barbara Novak in Down With Love
“This is Barbara Novak.”This remains as one of the most hilarious romps of the decades. McGregor and Kidman had Moulin Rouge, Zellweger and he have this – and sure, this might not be as great as Moulin Rouge, but it features excellent work from the two leads – especially Renee. She manages to pull off the film’s less than stellar portions (remember that revelation monologue?) and she pulls it all off with a great amount of charm that a number of actors wouldn’t have been able to accomplish.
Mae Braddock in Cinderella Man
“Every time you get hit, it feels like I'm getting hit too.”In a smack-down, I’d be more willing to support this Crow/Howard film than A Beautiful Mind and it’s a shame it was such a miss with the awards’ bodies. I’d have nominated Zellweger’s excellent turn as wife of boxer Jim Braddock. There’s real potential for this role to turn mawkish, but Zellweger avoids it. It easily triumphs as the strongest dramatic work I’ve seen her do – it’s a shame so few remember this one.
Roxie Hart in Chicago
“He loves me so, that funny honey of mine...”I don’t understand when persons lament the potentials who Renee won the role from (Colette, Theron) – perhaps they might have been good, but it’s folly to deny that Renee was excellent here. Catherine uses her voice to sell Velma and Renee uses her excellent comedic timing to good use. It’s a tricky character, but Renee sells it excellently. Sure, she wasn’t my favourite of the lot – but I do love the performance nonetheless.
To celebrate Renee's birthday, which performance would you rewatch?