The actress, who won Best Supporting Actress for her part in Cold Mountain in 2004, has gone through a lot over the past 16 years -- including a six-year hiatus from acting.
"Oh my goodness, how much time do you have?" she asked a reporter who inquired about her transformation since her first Oscar win. "At that time, I think I was so busy that I wasn't actually in the moment. I think I had just flown home for something for Bridget Jones 2. It's a different perspective. I'm a little more present now."
"I think the time away and the time in between has helped me to appreciate it in an different way. I just look at in a different way. What it represents is a little bit different," she added.
Zellweger also touched on the significance of winning Sunday's award for her performance as Judy Garland.
"This is about wanting to tell that story and to celebrate Judy Garland and to shine a light on perhaps the nuances of the circumstances of her life, which people dismissed as tragic. And the opportunity to tell a story that challenges that narrative and says, 'No, you can't know how extraordinary a person is until you know what they struggle with and what they overcome.' And to me, that's this [Oscar]."
The actress' role as Garland has also earned her a BAFTA, Golden Globe and SAG Award this awards season, and she couldn't have been happier with how her performance has resonated with audiences. "This [Oscar] definitely isn't what was in my mind when we started this experience," she shared.
See more on Zellweger in the video below.