I watched the Golden Globe Awards last night. I know I’m in the minority, but I’m going to say it anyway. And then I’ll brace for the reprimanding.
Jodie Foster made me angry.
Let me preface by saying that I know she is a lesbian icon, and I have always been a fan. Of her acting, her directing, her ability to stay private. All of it. I still am. Last night, she received the Cecil B. DeMille award. This is a very big deal, an award to honor a performer’s entire body of work, one that she knew she was getting—and deserved to get, in my opinion. But her acceptance speech was all over the board, and not in a good way. I’ve heard people use the excuse “she was probably nervous, wouldn’t you be?” Well, yes, probably. Maybe so, but she’s been in front of the camera (as she pointed out more than once) for 47 years. I expected some cohesion.
First of all, I found her to be, rather than gracious and humbled by this very prestigious award, sort of annoyed by the career she’s been in for 47 of her 50 years. Instead of being more gracious, as I expected, and talking a bit about her very admirable portfolio, she seemed to be kind of, “I’ve been doing this forever, and I’m kind of sick of it all. Thank god my friends have talked me off the ledge when I thought about quitting.” Of course, by the end of her speech, she was referring to her career as the best career in the world. So which is it? Awesome or tiresome? It’s probably both, but I would have liked her to say that.
I did not like that she joked about coming out. That she did this big build-up to say…I’m single. I get that she was being funny and probably riffing on herself, and I did chuckle at first, but when I thought about it, I was a little miffed. There are a lot of kids in this country struggling with their sexuality, being bullied by their peers and disowned by their parents and disregarded by an entire political party, and to have somebody with the clout of Jodie Foster make light of coming out…I don’t know. It left a bad taste in my mouth. And frankly, I’m surprised by the media explosion of “Jodie Foster comes out at the Golden Globes!” She received an award several years ago and thanked her “beautiful Cydney,” referring to her partner at the time. That was as much a coming out as anything, so it’s not like she hasn’t already been out. This was no surprise, and she said so. I did like that part of her speech, that she’s been out to those around her, those she cares about, for a long time. I don’t think anybody should be forced out of the closet, and she is intensely private, so maybe this was still terribly frightening for her, even though the whole world knew anyway. I can accept that and sympathize.
I am not going to get into her inexplicable friendship with Mel Gibson, misogynist and anti-Semite. It’s her business who she associates with, whether or not it makes any sense to me. So I’m just going to skip over that and pretend I didn’t notice him at her table like some whacked-out stepdad or creepy uncle.
I also have an issue with her complaining about her lack of privacy. While I understand that it must be awful to have paparazzi constantly following you—and given the whole John Hinkley mess of the 80s, she has more need than most to feel violated—I do feel it’s a part of the lifestyle. She has a career where she makes more money than most of us will ever see in our lifetime, and she could leave it at any time. Part of the trade-off is that you lose a large chunk of your privacy. It sucks, I agree, but it comes with the territory. To complain about it just irritates some of us “little people” who work our asses off just to be able to pay the bills each month and maybe break even.
All of that being said, the last two or three minutes of her speech were very moving, and that was the Jodie I was waiting for. Not the one who crowed about being fifty and single and referring to her body of work as a reel of bad home movies that never ends. I loved her words to her mother. I loved that she thanked her ex—in true lesbian fashion: we’re not together any more, but we’re still best friends!—for being an awesome co-parent. And I loved that she said all of it in front of her two sons. I think it was wonderfully poignant for them to see their mom stand up in front of all of her peers and recognize their other mom. That almost made up for the sporadic rambling and self-righteousness of the beginning of the speech.
I’m right there with you, Georgia. I would have thought she’d be more grateful for being recognized by the industry for her immense body of work. She’s the youngest recipient of this award, so it is quite an accomplishment. I was expecting a grace and elegance in her speech that just wasn’t there.
It reminded me more of the Jodie from “Freaky Friday” and “Candleshoe” rather than the Jodie from “The Accused” and “Little Man Tate” – and that’s what annoyed me.
I don’t care whether she “came out” in that speech or not. In my mind, that’s old news. She came out years ago – whether of her own declaration or not. I care that she is an incredibly talented and intelligent woman who did not use her talent and intelligence in that acceptance speech.
I enjoyed the Golden Globes, it was moving, funny, interesting, visually appealing. In short: pure entertainment. To repeat what I commented earlier–“her award, her speech”. We are living in a time where the value of first amendment rights has never been showcased in so many forms. Social media allows us all to share our opinions. So, “Your blog, your opinion” and thank you for sharing it.
I totally enjoyed the show, Jeanne. It was just that speech that left a bad taste in my mouth. You are right however. Her award, her speech.
I thought she was pompous, imprudent, condescending, impertinent, disingenuous, and cloy. If she didn’t want to draw attention to her lesbianism she wouldn’t have made it the catalyst for her flippancy. I’ll admit to sometimes being guilty of looking at the worst of straight people and shuddering – so I’d hate to think of anyone doing the same by mistaking her for representative of all the eloquent women I know who would have been gracious if awarded such distinction and given (even a sliver of) the opportunity. Including you, Georgia Beers.
I think my biggest issue with it, Marguerite, was that I felt like she was reprimanding the viewers. I get that she’s private, but is this the time or place (receiving a hugely prestigious award) to stress that? I don’t know; she left me shaking my head.
I totally agree. Marlon Brando came to mind while I was listening to her. That’s never a good sign.
Thanks for this blog. I had been confused with your earlier comments. You have expressed everything so perfectly. Love your last paragraph.
Having just turned 50 also I understand where she is (I think). I think she’s coming to a place in her life that she needed to say she’s gay loud and proud even though she didn’t really do that. I think she did the best she could with her particular propensity to privacy. Her sweet boys seemed so proud of her. I don’t remember any prolific Jodie speeches in the past so I don’t know how adept she is at delivering her own words, clearly not in such an outstanding manner as she can deliver lines written for her. Anyway what I’m trying to say is I believe what we saw on Sunday night had a lot more to do with Jodie’s place in life than it did with the award she was receiving.
I tend to agree with you, Janet, at least about where she is in life. I do understand how that can affect a person.
I thought Jodie’s speech was a hot mess! She was awkward as hell and I had a hard time watching. I also assumed she had already been ‘out’ for the past 5 years at least. But I agree the last bit was super perfect. But just the last bit.