Renee Zellweger on her empathy & adoration for Judy Garland

Renee Zellweger's dazzling performance as Judy Garland in 'Judy' has made her the front-runner for the best actress Oscar and heralds a resurgence for the 50-year-old 'Bridget Jones' star

TORONTO -- For Renee Zellweger, the task of becoming Judy Garland was too daunting to contemplate all at once.

Such a character needed to be assembled piecemeal: a bit-by-bit metamorphosis starting with the voice, followed by workshopping the songs and then building in the mannerisms, the hair, the make-up, the stage presence, and so on.

Zellweger says crafting the character for the film "Judy" was "a series of experiments."

"Judy" is the apotheosis of a resurgence for the 50-year-old Zellweger, who earlier this decade took a six-year hiatus away from acting. Her performance as Garland has so bowled over festival audiences that she's widely considered this year's front-runner for the best actress Oscar.

"Judy" opens in select theaters Friday.