Jodie Foster, Loud and Clear

jodie foster golden globes
After reading so many opinions about Jodie Foster’s “rambling” speech at the Golden Globes speech on Sunday night, I feel compelled to voice my opinion.  To me, Foster stood in a room full of people she’s been working with for 50 years and laid it all out there.  It was brave, fearless and a testament to a long life in Hollywood. She told the audience that she has to “fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds.”  She had a lot to say and who can blame her for using the Golden Globes as a forum to salute her life, her modern family and her career?

My first memory of Jodie Foster was in the film “Love Story” – I must have seen it several years after its release (it was my mom’s favorite movie) as I was only three years old when it came out, but Foster remained in the spotlight my whole life.  From TV show appearances in The Partridge Family, My Three Sons and The Courtship of Eddie’s Father to after school specials to classic films like Bugsy Malone, Freaky Friday, Candle Shoe and Foxes, her face filled my childhood.

Of course, at the same time, she was starring in some of the most legendary films of our lifetime like Taxi Driver, but that film wouldn’t enter my world until much later.  In my teens, she made films with profound impact like The Accused and Silence of the Lambs and I remember sitting in the cinema being knocked off my seat both times. She has just always been a part of my life and remains a very important part of the cinematic world.  She’s not only an actor, she’s a producer, a director and an activist.

She grew up at a time when it wasn’t okay to come out publicly as an actor. She took her lead from Katherine Hepburn and Gretta Garbo, and perhaps from Rock Hudson, and kept her homosexuality a secret.  Who can blame her, those were turbulent times politically and who knows what it would have done to her career.  We’ve all known she was gay.  She has kept it no secret, attending award ceremonies with her companion.  We’ve seen photographs portraying their happiness as they’ve raised two sons together to whom she says during her speech, “This song’s for you.”

So, on Sunday night, she “came out”.  So what if she’s never really talked about publicly?  She deserves her privacy as much as anyone else. Today is a new day.  Gay marriage is legal in nine states and times are changing.  It’s a wonderful time for her to step out and proclaim her gay pride to the world and help us all rise up.

“…be a big coming-out speech tonight because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently, that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was and it never will be. Please don’t cry because my reality show would be so boring. I would have to make out with Marion Cotillard or I’d have to spank Daniel Craig’s bottom just to stay on the air. It’s not bad work if you can get it, though.”

Critics are calling her speech all over the place, scattered, a hot mess.  I thought it was brave.  Jodie Foster is private. Perhaps she was nervous, a bit flustered as her speech started.  She’s an actress, not a public speaker and a very private person at that.  I’d certainly have been nervous if I were her.

“If you had been a public figure since you were a toddler, maybe you’d value privacy above all else, too.”

There were shots of the audience members in tears, from the likes of Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson.  Why?  Foster was documenting a lifetime in Hollywood and these young actresses look up to her.  She told them what to appreciate along the way, and they were listening.

“Looking at all those clips, you know, the hairdos and the freaky platform shoes, it’s like a home-movie nightmare that just won’t end, and all of these people sitting here at these tables, they’re my family of sorts, you know. Fathers mostly. Executives, producers, the directors, my fellow actors out there, we’ve giggled through love scenes, we’ve punched and cried and spit and vomited and blown snot all over one another — and those are just the costars I liked.”

She told her fellow actors to take one day at a time, to take nothing that they have in life for granted, to keep it all in perspective.  After making countless films, perhaps she wants to be more selective in her choices in the next chapter of her life.  There were reports that she was retiring from the below statement, but I didn’t read that into her words at all:

“Well, I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter. Change, you gotta love it. I will continue to tell stories, to move people by being moved, the greatest job in the world. It’s just that from now on, I may be holding a different talking stick. And maybe it won’t be as sparkly, maybe it won’t open on 3,000 screens, maybe it will be so quiet and delicate that only dogs can hear it whistle. But it will be my writing on the wall. Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely. Thank you, all of you, for the company. Here’s to the next 50 years.”

Perhaps Jodie Foster has been liberated.  She has grown up in the spotlight and it’s been an interesting ride.  At age 50, it sounds like she has a book boiling inside her.  It sounds like she needs to step back from the limelight and enjoy the fruits of her labor.  It sounds like she needs time to recover from her 20 year relationship.  It also sounds like she deserved the Cecille B. DeMille Award. Especially after seeing her highlight reel.

Of course, I don’t understand why she is friends with Mel Gibson.  However she made it clear during her speech that she is a fiercely loyal friend and the table of her close friends in the back of the room that she referred to a few times confirmed that.

Curious to watch her controversial speech yourself?  Here you go. What did you think?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. NurseLaurie says:

    I’ve been in love with her forever. She was amazing….just as she always is:)

  2. I think and always have thought Jodie Foster to be fabulous. I didn’t watch the Golden Globes but, of course I heard about the speech. Like Elissa said…she’s Jodie Foster…she can do what she pleases. She’s earned it.

  3. Beauty, Elegance, Grace!

  4. Great analysis! I felt the same way…and many other women that I’ve chatted with didn’t see her as rambling…and clearly neither did all those actresses in the audience with tears in their eyes. She’s Jodie Foster and she can do as she pleases. So there.

  5. I thought she seemed amped and excited and nervous (she’s an actress, not a public speaker), but coherent and just fine. I have always had tremendous respect for her. And I don’t get her friendship with Mel Gibson, but clearly they are incredibly close. And they probably both need that.

    I can’t wait to see what she chooses to share with us in the future–but I’ll take it on her terms.

    • Did she have Mel Gibson’s child? Elissa reminded me of this – it could be true. If so, of course she has an allegiance to Mel if he’s her kid’s father.

  6. I completely agree with you. I thought her speech was fantastic. There are always those who need to pick and criticize.

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