Elle Woods, Melanie Smooter, Annette Hargrove, oh my! Reese Witherspoon has enough iconic film roles to make for one movie epic marathon.
Witherspoon, who turns 44 on Sunday, March 22, rose to fame after starring the 1998 film Pleasantville alongside Tobey Maguire. Following popular roles in Cruel Intentions, Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama, the Whiskey in a Teacup author hit a career high when she won an Oscar for her portrayal of June Carter Cash in 2005’s Walk the Line.
“Never thought I’d be here in my whole life, growin’ up in Tennessee,” Witherspoon began at the 78th annual Academy Awards. “I want to say that Johnny Cash and June Carter had a wonderful tradition of honoring other artists and musicians and singers. And I really feel that tradition tonight. It is very important and — and I really feel it. So I want to thank the Academy for this incredible honor.”
The Big Little Lies star thanked her then-husband, Ryan Phillippe, and their two kids, Ava, now 19, and Deacon, now 15, before giving a sweet shoutout to her grandmother.
“My grandmother was one of the biggest inspirations in my life. She taught me how to be a real woman, to have strength and self-respect, and to never give those things away,” Witherspoon said. “And those were a lot of qualities I saw in June Carter. … [June] used to say, ‘I’m just tryin’ to matter.’ And, I know what she means, you know. I’m just trying to matter and live a good life and make work that means something to somebody.”
Following her divorce from Phillippe, Witherspoon married Jim Toth and welcomed son Tennessee in 2012.
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