Zellweger is earning Oscar buzz for her portrayal of legendary entertainer Judy Garland in Judy, but what do Garland’s actual co-stars think of her portrayal?
As a young child, O’Brien starred opposite Garland in Christmas classic Meet Me in St. Louis. The two played sisters, with Garland portraying older sister Esther and O’Brien as youngest sister Tootie. “
“Renée Zellweger’s performance was fabulous,” O’Brien tells EW.
She notes that the Garland in Judy was an older Judy, more ravaged by drug addiction, alcohol, and financial difficulties than the actress she worked with in the early 1940s. “Hers was the more late Judy. Not the Judy I knew,” she says of the Garland depicted in the biopic. “Hers was more after things had gone wrong in life. Certain things had gone wrong — career things, money things. That was more that side of Judy in the later years. But the Judy I saw was in the happy years, and I’m glad I did see that part of Judy.”
Still, O’Brien is hopeful Zellweger’s performance could help rectify one of the greatest Oscar snubs in Academy Awards history. Garland was nominated for her performance in 1954’s A Star Is Born, but she famously lost to Grace Kelly in The Country Girl. Fans of Garland have bemoaned the loss for years.
“I hope she gets the Academy Award,” gushes O’Brien of Zellweger. “I really do. I think that’ll make up a little bit when Judy should have had the award. That was I think everybody’s greatest disappointment. People realize today that was sort of a travesty that she did not get the award. So I’m hoping that it does not happen to Renée Zellweger, and that she gets the award this time to make up a little bit for Judy not getting it.”
Audiences will have the chance to see the real Garland and O’Brien on screen together when Meet Me in St. Louis returns to theaters for the holidays this December from TCM and Fathom Events. It will play at over 600 movie screens across the country on Sunday, Dec. 8 and Wednesday, Dec. 11. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Fathom Events website.
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