Last night, Jodie Foster was honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement award at the 70th Annual Golden Globes.
In her acceptance speech, Foster took the opportunity to quietly address and defend the privacy she has valued around her life and sexual orientation. She did a little dance with the audience…not really “coming out”…but at the end of the day did she need to? And…honestly, does it matter? It has never impacted the way I view or believe her characters in films…no more than knowing Julia Roberts is a redhead, but believing her as a blonde in Erin Brockovich. Foster is amazing at her job…her JOB…isn’t that is all that matters?
This speech was Foster’s moment to acknowledge those who have helped and loved her through a 47 year old career. Those who have “talked her off the ledge”, the people who know her…who she came out to “…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.” The people who matter…her family and friends. The rest of us are speculators and observers…as long as she is doing her job and doing it well, why should we care who she loves?
For me, her speech was clever and classy with just the right amount of vulnerability. This woman is an Ivy League graduate, Oscar winning actress and critically acclaimed film-maker…rest assured that each word was carefully and cleverly chosen; every beat rehearsed, every laugh anticipated. Yet, Foster appeared emotional and, at times, nervous. This only endeared her to me and, I would imagine, her audience of peers.
My favourite moment was when she thanked her former partner and co-parent and expressed her pride and love for their “modern family.” And, I admit I shed a tear when she spoke directly to the camera, to her 84 year old mother who suffers from dementia:
“Mom, I know you are inside those blue eyes somewhere and that there are so many things that you won’t understand tonight, but this is the only important one to take in: I love you, I love you, I love you. And I hope that if I say this three times, it will magically and perfectly enter into your soul, fill you with grace and the joy of knowing that you did good in this life, you’re a great mom. Please take that with you when you’re finally okay to go.”
To me, it was a beautiful speech. (Un)perfectly eloquent, understated and real. Kind of like Foster herself.