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Jodie Foster’s speech was dramatic, but inspirational

Updated: January 14, 2013 7:57PM

When we talk about the greatest Oscar speeches of all time, Tom Hanks’ moving and inspirational acceptance after winning 1994 Best Actor for “Philadelphia” is often near the top of the list.

But it was kind of a jumbled mess as well.

“There lies my dilemma tonight,” said Hanks. “I know my work in this case is magnified by the fact that the streets of heaven are too crowded with angels. We know their names. … They finally rest in the warm embrace of the gracious creator of us all — a healing embrace that cools their fevers, soothes their skin, and allows their eyes to see the simple, self-evident, common-sense truth that is made manifest by the benevolent creator of us all and was written down on paper by wise men, tolerant men, in the city of Philadelphia 200 years ago.”

Hanks was paying tribute to the many victims of AIDS. We understood where he was coming from. (Even though angels aren’t the souls of humans in heaven. According to Christian teachings, they’re spiritual creations of God carrying his message in various ways.) But bringing it all back to Philadelphia in that final line? I’m still not sure exactly what was happening there.

So it was with Jodie Foster’s amazing, brave, funny, emotional endearing and undeniably bat-bleep crazy speech at the Golden Globes.

Foster child, Foster adult

It’s one of the great show-biz ironies: Lindsay Lohan played mostly innocent characters as a very young actress and turned into a holy mess of an adult, whereas Jodie Foster played a child prostitute in “Taxi Driver” yet became one of Hollywood’s most respected artists, on and off camera.

In accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award at Sunday night’s Globes, Foster brought tears to many with a speech in which she thanked the people who mean the most to her, had a lot of fun with the open secret of her sexual orientation, made jokes at her own expense and took many a shot at reality TV and the lost art of maintaining a private life.

She also brought the crazy.

“For all of you ‘SNL’ fans, I’m 50, I’m 50!” said Foster. “You know, I need to do that without this dress on … maybe later at Trader Vic’s, boys and girls. What do you say, I’m 50!”

As for her acting colleagues, Foster noted, “We’ve punched and cried and spit and vomited and blown snot all over one another — and those are just the co-stars are liked. … Blood-shaking friendships, brothers and sisters. We made movies together, and you can’t get more intimate than that.”

Well, I think you can strike even closer bonds if you go to war together or even play on “Monday Night Football” together, but that’s just the macho talking.

“Can I get a wolf whistle or something?” said Foster at another point, and then audio went silent for seven seconds, presumably because something was bleeped.

“You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child,” said Foster. “Please don’t cry because my reality show would be so boring. I would have to make out with Marion Cotillard or spank Daniel Craig’s bottom just to stay on the air. It’s not bad work if you can get it, though.”

Foster also made references to non-famous associates of hers sitting in the back of the room, “way out in Idaho, Paris, Stockholm.” And she finished by telling us from now on, she may be holding “a different talking stick, and maybe it won’t be as sparkly, maybe it won’t open on 3,000 screens, maybe it will be so quiet and delicate only dogs can hear it whistle. … Jodie Foster was here, I still am, and I want to be seen, to be understood deeply and to be not so very lonely.”

Actors. They’re so DRAMATIC.

The headlines were all about Foster “coming out.” Really? I didn’t realize there were any questions about her sexuality after all these decades. But apparently some folks were shocked to hear Jodie publicly sort of acknowledging she’s a lesbian.

I don’t care if half of what Foster sounded like the New Age Ramblings of a Middle-Aged Soul. As was the case with Tom Hanks’ Oscar speech nearly 20 years ago, when the content drifted into non-sequitirs and flights of fancy, the spirit and intent were true and inspirational.

I’d sure as hell rather hear Jodie Foster going off the rails than endure Anne Hathaway doing the Full Paltrow, seemingly losing her breath and encapsulating all that is insecure and narcissistic and self-aggrandizing about awards shows when she said, “Thank you for this lovely blunt object that I will forevermore use as a weapon against self-doubt.”

No one in the real world ever, ever talks like that.

Thank God. And the Academy. And my agent, and the crew, and…


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