Say What, Jodie?
Moynihan, Michael C., Newsweek
Byline: Michael C. Moynihan
The meaning of Jodie Foster's moment.
She last directed a film called The Beaver, in which Mel Gibson communicates through a rodent hand puppet, but this didn't deter Golden Globes judges from presenting actress Jodie Foster with the 2013 Cecil B. DeMille Award, in recognition of "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." In a show of appreciation, Foster treated 20 million television viewers to a rambling, seven-minute acceptance speech during which she probably came out of the closet, possibly retired from acting, and surely confused her fans.
Within minutes, the Twitter brigades were parsing Foster's every on-stage utterance. Journalists spoke effusively of her "bravery" (Chicago Sun-Times) and her "strength and courage to be authentic" (The Huffington Post). During her sermon, NBC cameras hunted for weepy stars--this was a cultural moment-- training them on Kate Hudson, Emily Deschanel, Marion Cotillard, and Anne Hathaway, as eyeliner ran and eyes welled with tears. Backstage, actress Lena Dunham told reporters that the speech was "mind-blowingly beautiful" and "complex" and "wasn't trying to hand you one moral."
The rest of America seemed to miss Foster's mind-blowing complexity. CNN host Piers Morgan, never one to ignore a passing bandwagon, tweeted that he had "no idea what the hell Jodie Foster just did--but it was brilliant," demonstrating Hollywood's promiscuity in praising its own, often for reasons it doesn't understand.
Talking past ordinary Americans, and standing before millions, Foster rambled about the importance of "privacy" (while introducing her previously anonymous children to the cameras). "Someday, in the future," she declared, "people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was," before the rapacious gossip press destroyed the simplicity of American celebrity. She made nod-and-wink references to her sexuality, leading to breathless news reports that she "came out of the closet" on national television. …