Renee Zellweger looks different on red carpet, world freaks out

Renee Zellweger steals the spotlight at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards

This just in: Arguably the biggest story to come out of the 21st Elle Women in Hollywood Awards -- an event that exists to honor the success of women in front of and behind the camera -- was about one actress' appearance, not her accomplishments.

Shocking.

Granted, the Renee Zellweger who showed up on the red carpet for the Beverly Hills event on Monday night did not look exactly like the Renee Zellweger who broke out in Hollywood with "Jerry Maguire" in 1996. (She'd apparently and inexplicably aged over the course of nearly 20 years.)

She did, however, look a lot like the Renee Zellweger who was photographed at events last October and November, which was when the first critical "What did she do to her face?!?" stories seem to have cropped up.

Keep in mind, those come in the wake of all the critical "Why does she look like she's sucking on a lemon?!?" stories that have dogged her over the course of her entire career. Same headlines, different words.

Nope, the new pictures taken Monday were not Photoshopped. Yep, her signature squint appears to have been supplanted by a less heavily-lidded look.

Nope, she's not rocking a huge smile in the images being touted as the most "unrecognizable." Yep, the bigger a human being smiles, the more that human being's eyes squint.

Nope, Zellweger's forehead was not riddled with wrinkles. Yep, the shorter layers of hair that usually frame her face and obscure her forehead were slicked away to the side for a hairstyle that created the illusion of all-one-length locks.

Nope, she hasn't gone public about any plastic surgery or anti-aging treatments. Yep, there's a lot of pressure for actresses not to age.

Like, not to age ever.

Oh yeah, before we forget, Zellweger still won a supporting actress Oscar for 2003's "Cold Mountain." And according to Box Office Mojo, films she's been in have still grossed more than $2.5 billion worldwide. And without a big-screen appearance since 2010, she's still enough of a Hollywood presence to rank with presenters who included Jennifer Lawrence, Shirley Maclaine, Kerry Washington, Amy Poehler, Bill Hader and Steve Carell.

In other shocking news out of the Elle awards, in a taped thank-you video, a pregnant Zoe Saldana appeared to have gained weight.

Also: Jennifer Garner ate a slice of pizza on stage. In public.

As if it didn't even matter.

Follow Christie D'Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ and Google+. Follow the Ministry of Gossip on Twitter @LATcelebs.

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