Jodie Foster Comes Out As Gay, Kinda Announces Retirement At The Golden Globe Awards

Good for her ... but ...

While the Golden Globe Awards last night focused on the best in film and television over the past year, there is one award acceptance speech that managed to get most of the attention and was the subject of discussion on social media as soon as it was delivered last night. Jodie Foster, actor/director/etc., was presented with the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award last night and she used her 6+ speech to ramble on about her personal life, her privacy, her career and more. Over the course of her speech, Jodie officially confirmed to the world that she is gay after spending a 50 year lifetime never addressing the subject and then kinda sorta announced that she was retiring from Hollywood. I make take some flak for this but I wasn’t all that impressed with her speech. While I applaud her well-deserved award and love that she finally came out as gay, I can’t say that I loved her overall speech as much as pretty much everyone else seems to.

Jodie Foster’s winding, emotional acceptance speech upon receiving the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes was one of the show’s standout moments. The six-and-a-half-minute oration, in which Foster addressed her sexuality, her privacy, her career and her family, seemed to draw a unanimous reaction at first: one of sheer surprise. After the initial shock subsided, two big questions hung in the air. Had Foster come out as gay? And had she announced her retirement? Reaction in the ballroom, and backstage, was strong, though interpretations varied. “That was great, wasn’t it?” said actor John Hawkes. “She handled herself with such grace and wit. It was really amazing.” Lena Dunham said backstage: “I thought Jodie Foster’s speech was mind blowingly beautiful. … It was really a complex, interesting assessment of what it’s like to have a creative career over a long period of time.” Jessica Chastain added: “I don’t know what she was trying to relate, but I can tell you what I took from the speech, as an actress I struggle with the idea of privacy. …The actors who I respect are the ones who try hard to keep their privacy like Jodie Foster — I think when an actor is able to do that the audience is better able to accept them in different roles.” Outside the room, assessments were hardly uniform. Christy Lemire of the Associated Press wrote that “Jodie Foster came out without really coming out, and suggested she was retiring from acting without exactly saying so.” Seth Abramovitch of the Hollywood Reporter said, “If you were expecting a coming-out speech at the Golden Globes, Jodie Foster wasn’t about to oblige.” But, he added, “without actually saying the words ‘I’m gay,’ Foster acknowledged that she’s never lived her life any way other than as a gay woman.” The Advocate’s Diane Anderson-Minshall wrote, “The speech began a bit like a light-hearted comic interlude but was actually a serious and thoughtful combination of a coming out speech and a retirement goodbye.” She added, “It was a winking nod to her fans and followers who by now know that Foster is gay” … Backstage after the speech, Foster dispelled the notion that she was retiring from moviemaking. “I could never stop acting,” she said. “You’d have to drag me behind a team of horses.” She added, “I’d like to be directing tomorrow. But, no, I’m actually more into [acting] than I’ve ever been.” When asked by reporters what she intended to get across with her speech, Foster said, “That people change. That change is important. Hopefully, I’ll be doing different things than when I was at 3 years old or 6 years old … That work evolves.” She added, “The speech kind of speaks for itself.”

Now, I first have to say that I am very impressed that Jodie chose this big moment to confirm to the world that she is gay. Not because, as she says, gay celebrities are “expected to” come out but because when they chose to do so of their own volition, they are speaking to a multitude of scared gay people out there who may be afraid to deal with their own sexuality and may find comfort in the words of someone they look up to, respect and admire … someone who is gay, like they are. Jodie makes clear that she never chose to discuss her sexuality publicly because she has already done so with family, friends and people she’s “actually met” and that was good enough for her … indeed, that is good enough for anyone. How someone chooses to come out is a very personal matter and there is no wrong way to do so. I tend to bristle, tho, when outrageously famous and wealthy celebrities complain about the fame and wealth that they enjoy. Jodie shared with us that she has been dealing with public scrutiny since she was a toddler, as if it was a curse or punishment that was placed on her without her approval. As if she hasn’t enjoyed a life of privilege that 99% of us will never experience, as if she has not enjoyed power and wealth that comes along with such scrutiny. She has suffered at the hands of the public eye, she wants us to believe, while she addresses a room filled with some of the most wealthy, the most influential and the most famous people in the US (and world) in a speech that was beamed to adoring fans all around the globe on TV and online. She’s got it rough. And, let’s not forget, Jodie still counts among her closest friends Mel Gibson, a self-proclaimed homophobe and anti-Semite … a man who was arrested for his crimes and remains pretty unrepentant to this day. Again, far be it for me or anyone else to tell Jodie who to be friends with, but all of these things kept rolling around in my head as she delivered her impassioned speech last night. Please understand, I am not attacking nor am I finding any real fault with Jodie‘s emotional speech last night. I’m sure it was a special moment for her and she delivered an excellent speech, worthy of the occasion. Her message at the end to her former partner, her children and her mother was extremely touching, very well spoken and truly heartfelt — definitely my favorite parts of her speech. I just need to share my personal opinion that I wasn’t quite in love with everything that she unlike pretty much everyone else who did love her speech entirely … and that’s OK. What did y’all think of Jodie‘s speech, were you moved? Did you love it … why … or why not?

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  1. I thought it was important, because I am sure there has been TONS of pressure on her from the LGBT community to officially “come out”. I kind of saw it has her defending herself for why she hasn’t announced it sooner. It wasn’t because of shame, it was because of her own choice to have a private life that is indeed private. She seemed to say that she hasn’t been cowering in not coming out, she was simply being empowered in her own choices.

    The beginning of the speech was odd, but later on I see that she was probably really nervous leading up to that moment.

  2. Kiki

    I was so lost and confused in her speech. I couldn’t figure out if she was coming out or if she was continuing to just play with the media. I tuned out after she said “I’m single” because it was just a rambling mess. (And not a mess in a good way like most of those Golden Globe speeches should have been!)

  3. bleedingEars

    Counting Mel Gibson as a close friend perplexed me as well. And as you pointed out he is a fairly unrepentant homophobe and anti-Semite. But if I look at Jodie Foster as the intelligent woman that she is… perhaps she sees something in him we don’t. Her experiences with Gibson are clearly different, after all she did say “You saved me too” when addressing him. Or perhaps she is trying to embrace him when everyone else has abandoned him in an attempt to show him love in hopes she can heal whatever demons are running around in his crazy head. Or maybe she just owes him money. Not sure.

    • “Or maybe she just owes him money. Not sure.” Hahahaha. That killed me. Especially after your other great and possible options for why she is friends with him.

    • His blank stare slayed me, honestly. HILAR!

    • LMAO BleedingEars! I am among the people who was not impressed with Foster’s speech. It was incoherent and I did not understand why people were crying. Perhaps they were seeing something I wasn’t. My husband thought she was drunk or on drugs. As for Mel Gibson, he was drunk off his ass. Major glassy eye stares.

  4. Jen

    I was confused to see people crying during her speech. I honestly thought she was drunk (I mean she was sitting between Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr, right?) and rambling. It didn’t feel rehearsed or poignant at all to me. It felt rushed, spontaneous, awkward and off the cuff. All adjectives that should not define a speech that you had forewarning you would be expected to give. I can appreciate the portion about her privacy but like you said Trent its ‘as if she hasn’t enjoyed a life of privilege that 99% of us will never experience’. That’s kinda like saying your expensive caviar gave you a tummy ache.

  5. Aaaaaand this is why I love you, Trent. I had similar issues with parts of her speech, and I ALMOST felt inadequate for having them as I watched celebrity after celebrity break into tears. (Sometimes the cynic in me takes over…)

    Jodie Foster is a bright, bright woman, but she also tends to come off as self-righteous (and maybe even a little bit entitled), especially when it comes to celebrity and artistry. When she started talking about “privacy”, I gave the biggest eye-roll of the night because I knew where she was going. I have heard this speech before. I also remembered that essay she wrote on behalf of Kristen Stewart (after Rupertgate), one that felt very short of portraying celebrities as martyrs and that read like a Nicholas Sparks’ novel. Oh well…

    With that said, she is incredibly well-spoken. I was moved, generally speaking, but I guess the cynic in me won in the end.

  6. Susan

    I thought she already came out?

  7. I disliked her speech, frankly. I also tuned out after she said that she was single. As much as I believe in her right to privacy, it’s so cliche to ask for that when you’re in the limelight and every celebrity’s personal life is always under scrutiny. When the cameras panned to everyone moved to tears, I was absolutely baffled by that. Her tribute to her mother was cute, but it felt SO forced. Was I the only one that felt that way?? I only give you two claps, Jodie Foster. That’s all you get.

  8. MJ

    I get that by choosing to be an actor (and therefore famous) you do agree in some ways to give up a certain level of privacy…but that said, I don’t think that means everything about yourself needs to be out there.

    She’s been in the public eye since she was 3 years old, most of us PITNB-ers can’t understand what that’s like and the impact such an upbringing has on someone. I certainly can get her desire for privacy, especially considering that she was way more famous at a very young age. She has taken a big step back and isn’t acting as much these days.

    I didn’t necessarily thing that the Golden Globes was the appropriate place for her to “come out,” but she also doesn’t do a lot of press or events unless she’s got work to promote. What lead her to admit this at the GG, who knows? Perhaps now that she’s confirmed what was known for ages, she’ll get a measure of calmness and lead a happier life. To me, the end of her speech was awfully sad, especially the part about her being “so very lonely.”

  9. VV

    There’s no need to apologize for having a different opinion.

  10. Keegan

    I agree with you Trent. I just felt pretty blasé about the whole speech – and it was a bit awkward, really. I appreciate that it was pretty brave of her to do that when it is not required of her in any way, shape or form. But, I mean.. were people really hounding her that hard to come out? And with the way we’ve seen a number of other celebrities come out with barely a word or two over the last few years (Jim Parsons for example, who is the star on the most-watched television show in America), I’m not sure of the need for her to address it at all. Good for her though – as long as she’s happy, that’s great.

    • Yasmin

      I believe it was important for her to publicly come out. It always is, it matters.

    • Keegan

      I understand the reasons why it’s important for celebrities to publicly come out – but I don’t think they should have to. If she’s out with her family, friends and co-workers, I don’t see why she should be forced to do any more. It’s her life and ultimately, she has to do what works for her and her family and not anyone else.

  11. Yasmin

    Thank you for writing this. I feel the same way. She has her reasons for wanting to hold on to as much privacy as she can, she did have some scary experiences in the 80s and she did become famous at a very young age. But she decided to continue to pursue a carrer that she knew would draw attention to herself. I’m not saying that just because your are an actor or singer or whatever you have live your life as public as your audience wants you to, but I just can’t stand the complaining. It is your fame that brought you so much privilege. Made it possible for you and your family to live financially stable life. If you hate the invasion of privacy that much just get out of the business. I got so mad last month when I watches THR Actress Roundtable. Anne Hathaway was complaining about the paparazzi and how she was so young when she started and it wasn’t like that back then and all I could think was: Maybe it wasn’t 10 years ago and maybe you didn’t know what you were getting yourself into 10 years down the line but you do now! Nobody is keeping you from doing something else. Or nothing at all since you have made more than enough money to never have to work another day in your life. A certain invasion of privacy is the price you have to pay for being able to do this kind of work on this level. That’s just how it is.

    And Mel Gibson. I just don’t get it. Though I don’t remember the homophobia, just the racism and anti-semitism, but I guess there were just too many tapes/remarks to keep up. Isn’t RDJ best friends with him, too? Something about how he helped him when he was in prison? I still don’t get it, never will. But his facial expression really was hilarious! Like this was the first he heard about her being gay!
    I’m glad she came out(though I wish she would have actually said I’m gay) and while I do have a lot of thoughts about it, I’m not going to write them down because, as you said, how and when someone chooses to come out is a very personal matter.

  12. jade

    The real story here is her retirement!
    I mean come on, does anyone in Hollywood EVER retire?
    Jay Leno – Retired, came back
    Azealia Banks – Retires every other minute, doesn’t really have a career to retire from.
    Jay – Z – The King of Retirement. Retires every year he doesn’t drop an album.

    I think someone should teach Hollywood the Difference between retirement and a vacation, but only time will tell if we ever see new works from actor/director/etc, Jodie Foster.

  13. Isabelle

    None of us (from what I gather) are famous
    None of us had to come out gay in front of million people because apparently you owe it to the masses
    None of us actually know Gibson as a human being, let alone as a friend
    None of us know nothing about her life.

    So, no, I didn’t enjoy her speech that much, I didn’t understand why some people were crying, but I don’t see any reason for such criticism either.

  14. Lexie

    I definitely teared up when she thanked her mom! Such a sweet part.

  15. GregSD

    It seems that most here were not impressed, but I wanted to offer a different opinion.

    First, I think people were crying because of the comments about her mother. Her mom apparently has Alzheimer’s. She said something to the effect of ‘I can see you somewhere behind those blue eyes’. Dementia is especially difficult for the family and loved ones of those afflicted. It’s incredibly painful to watch a loved one slip away, and I thought her comments were honest and heartfelt.

    With regards to the bulk of her speech – I thought it was great! Yes, everyone in that room, and most at home, already knew that she is gay. But she is notoriously private, and any acknowledgement of her sexuality is a big deal.

    And I don’t think she is despairing her own celebrity or the infringement on her privacy. She just chooses to keep her private life private. A life less Kardashian, if you will. Also, how old was she when John Hinckley tried to assassinate President Reagan? I can’t imagine what sort of affect that would have on someone in her position, in the spotlight. But I imagine it played a large part in shaping her worldview, especialy with regards to celebrity.

    So, I thought it was great, but I’m admittedly biased because I love Jodie.

  16. Cinnamon

    Jody was outted by a gossip columnist in the 1980s for having an affair with Kelly McGillis while they were filming The Accused. She didn’t confirm but she also didn’t ever deny it. McGillis was married to a man within a couple of months, although now she’s out too.

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