Renee Zellweger has been sweeping award season this year with her portrayal of Judy Garland in Judy, which seems earned, considering she plays a really convincing Judy for someone who seemed like the last person you’d call to play Judy Garland. Renee has a lot of acceptance speeches to give, and she clearly knows that she can’t skate by on thanking her agent, her manager, and Judy Garland every single damn time. So she’s got to get creative and start thanking people she might not usually thank. Well, Renee took home the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, and her thank-yous included a woman who let her couch surf back in the day, and her Jerry Maguire co-star Tom Cruise.
On top of Judy, Renee also thanked her fellow nominees while reminding us through her twang that she’s from Texas. After Renee got all the customary thank-yous out of the way, she thanked a woman named Helen Kates from Texas, for “sharing early days with me, and letting me sleep on your couch, I still look up to you.” Then, to Tom Cruise, who inspired Renee to say this:
“To Tom Cruise, for your example of professionalism on set, and striving for excellence, and generosity, and unconditional kindness.”
A little more random was her shout-out to her The Whole Wide World co-star Vincent D’Onofrio for teaching her “how to work, and the seriousness of work.” Renee was really digging into the 1990s archives for co-stars to thank. And I kind of wish she’d kept going. “To Maxwell Caulfield, for teaching me that any day can be Rex Manning Day. And Meryl Streep, for showing me that there’s more than just One True Thing – in fact, there’s many!”
It was very kind of Renee to gush over Tom Cruise. It was probably nice for Tom to hear praise coming from someone who isn’t obligated to by a billion-year contract. Although it’s not really that much of a surprise that Renee would sing Tom’s praises. It’s Hollywood legend that Tom Cruise’s co-stars think he’s a very nice guy (well, most of them).
So I’m sure Tom Cruise was touched that Renee thought of him at the SAGs, and that she didn’t do so while making a corny “You had me at hello” or “You complete me” joke. Although I’m sure a part of Tom wishes Renee hadn’t thanked him immediately after she mentioned that couch. It’s been 15 years since Tom jumped on Oprah’s couch, and he’s never going to live down that association.
Here’s more of Renee posing with her SAG Award backstage in the press room.