Following the success of Chicago, she starred with Ewan Mc Gregor in the highly stylized romantic comedy Down with Love (2003), in which she played a woman who advocates female independence in the patriarchal and male chauvinist society of the 1950s and early 1960s.The San Francisco Chronicle's Mick La Salle wrote the film is "very smart, very shrewd" and that Zellweger is "an actress at that lovely stage where she is unable to make a false move: She finds the truth in farce and the farcical in the truthful, and is very funny".
She has received critical acclaim and many accolades, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA Award, three Golden Globe Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Several movie parts in low-key and limited release features such as Appaloosa (2008), My One and Only (2009), Case 39 (2009) and My Own Love Song (2010) were followed by a six-year hiatus from acting work.
Zellweger returned to the screen in the third Bridget Jones movie, Bridget Jones's Baby (2016). as a local hire" in the Austin-filmed horror-comedy film My Boyfriend's Back, playing "the girl in the beauty shop, maybe two lines.
Also in 2002, she portrayed Roxie Hart in the musical film Chicago, directed by Rob Marshall and co-starring Catherine Zeta-Jones, Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, and John C. The movie garnered wide critical acclaim and won the Best Picture award at the 75th Academy Awards.
She earned her second Academy Award and BAFTA Award nominations for Best Leading Actress, winning her second Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role.