Renée Zellweger Dedicates Spirit Award to Judy Garland: "Cheers to You From the Beach"

The actress took home the prize for best female lead for her portrayal of the late icon in 'Judy.'

Renée Zellweger took home her first Spirit Award at Saturday's Film Independent Spirit Awards. The actress was honored for her portrayal of the late Judy Garland in the biopic Judy.

In her acceptance speech, Zellweger — who had been nominated for a Spirit Award twice before — reflected back on her first time at the awards ceremony, which famously takes place inside a tent on the beach in Santa Monica.

"I gotta say, what was it, March 25, 1995?" she said. "I was here with you in the tent. … It was my first invitation. And my first Hollywood experience in my mint-green dress that I bought on Melrose. And I set the bar high, and I learned about the importance of independent projects."

The actress went on to thank Film Independent "for the work that you do and support of independent film and visionaries telling human stories that somehow miraculously make it to the screen to invaluable effect." Added Zellweger, "I'm really grateful to be part of this community and to be back here in the tent and to receive this tonight."

She concluded her remarks by dedicating her win to Garland, who died at age 47 in 1969. "I know that this is a reflection of the resounding affection for Judy Garland and her legacy," said Zellweger. "So, cheers to you from the beach. Ms. Garland, this is for you."

In the best female category, Zellweger beat out competition including Karen Allen (Colewell), Hong Chau (Driveways), Elisabeth Moss (Her Smell), Mary Kay Place (Diane) and Alfre Woodard (Clemency).

Zellweger previously won a Golden Globe for Judy earlier this year, and is nominated for best actress at the Oscars, which are set to take place Sunday.

Aubrey Plaza hosted the 2020 Independent Spirit Awards, which were televised live on IFC.