Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s Golden Globes coverage.
Jodie Foster was not exactly springing a surprise on Hollywood tonight at the Golden Globes. The fact that she is gay is no secret in this town. What wasn’t known is how long she wouldn’t talk about it publicly. After all, for decades, her longtime (and now-retired) publicist Pat Kingsley fought the prying media against outing Foster publicly. But Jodie’s own acceptance speech tonight (see video below) of the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award was revelatory – and the big topic backstage during and after the ceremony. Not the least of the commentary came from Foster, who spent about 10 minutes backstage fielding questions — about twice as long as most awardees. Foster’s speech ranged from her future plans (more directing but not retiring, an impression she might have given — not intentionally, she says) to her privacy, which included her making her most public coming-out statement to date.
“Seriously, I hope that you’re not disappointed that there won’t 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, co-workers and then gradually, proudly, to everyone who knew her, everyone she actually met”, the 50-year-old Foster said onstage. “But now apparently I’m told that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance, and a primetime reality show. And you guys might be surprised, but I’m not Honey Boo Boo child.”
Reporters backstage tended to quiz the women winners, not the men, on what they thought of Jodie’s remarks. In response, winners Lena Dunham and Jessica Chastain praised Foster. Dunham called the speech “mind-blowingly beautiful.” Chastain reacted personally. “As an actress, I struggle a lot with privacy.” She said that the audience is more willing to accept performers in a variety of roles if their own life remains a mystery.
Foster’s wide-ranging speech also included language about changes coming in her career — which some initially took to mean that she was stepping back from acting. “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… But it will be my writing on the wall: ‘Jodie Foster was here.’ ” Backstage, Foster assured the media that she will not stop working in front of the camera. “Oh, I could never stop acting,” she said. “I’m not retiring. They’d have to drag me behind a team of horses.” She quickly added, “If you’ve got anything perfect for me, I’ll be directing tomorrow.”
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