Have you heard? Renee Zellweger is 100% guaranteed to win the Best Actress Oscar this Sunday for her touching performance as the beleagured, pill-popping, late-stage Judy Garland in Judy. How fitting, then, that five days before the Oscar telecast Variety‘s Marc Malkin has posted an interview with Garland’s equally famous daughter, the not-without-her-own-issues Liza Minnelli, 73.
Fitting but less than revelatory. Because Malkin and Minnelli almost totally dodge the Judy factor, and all Minnelli will say about Zellweger is “I hope she had a good time making [the film].”
Any journalist worth his or her salt wouldn’t avoid the Judy elephant if he/she could wangle a chat with Minnelli, and Malkin is no go-along fanboy so why did he post such a zero-content, kiss-ass interview? Apparently because Minnelli or her publicist told Malkin going in that she wouldn’t discuss Judy or offer an opinion of Zellweger’s performance. And Malkin said, “Okay, let’s do it anyway because…Liza!!!”
I don’t believe Minnelli hasn’t seen Judy. Does anyone? If Minnelli actually hasn’t seen it (which is theoretically possible) this would obviously indicate a neurotic avoidance syndrome that would choke a horse. But let’s presume that she has seen it, and is therefore harboring a reaction or two. If so, the only possible explanation for Minnelli’s silence is that (a) she has nothing all that nice to say, but that (b) she doesn’t want to rain on Zellweger’s parade on the final day of Oscar voting.
And so Malkin dutifully asks her a bunch of cottonball questions about her life and career.
In a 7.16.19 interview ET Online‘s Desiree Murphy asked Minnelli whether she’d seen the Judy trailer, which contained snippets of Zellweger’s performance. “Oh, really? No, no I haven’t [seen anything],” Minnelli responded. She called Zellweger “a wonderful actress” but added, “I just hope [the Judy filmmakers] don’t do what they always do. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
Even if she didn’t entirely care for the film and/or Zellweger’s performance, Minnelli could have offered a couple of puffy, insincere, carefully phrased thoughts — the kind of reactions everyone shovels when they want to say something nice but inconsequential. But she couldn’t even manage that, possibly because she regards herself as too much of a blazing truth-teller. Or, as I’ve noted, she’s intentionally avoided seeing the film, which of course would represent a herculean defiance of human nature as well as a bizarre response for a daughter who is naturally determined to protect and polish her mother’s legend as best she can.
Minnelli seems to have gone along with the interview in order to remind the industry that she’s in the pink and ready to work — active, healthy, parked locally, a few years sober. Malkin notes that Minnelli is living in “a modest Los Angeles-area apartment,” and that the main living room is “cozy with a grand piano squeezed into the corner,” and that “a collection of awards crowd a sideboard near the entryway.”
Malkin: Do you want to act again? Minnelli: “Oh, sure.” Malkin: “What do you want to do?” Minnelli: “Whatever comes up. I’ve always been like that.”