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Jodie Foster delivers a jolt from the heart

Golden
Globes 2013

The actress bares her soul in speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award.

January 14, 2013|By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic

I will take Jodie Foster's 6 minutes and 40 seconds of unfiltered passion, confusion, confession and love, so much love, over anything else anyone in Hollywood has said in a very, very long time.

The occasion was Sunday night's Golden Globes, and as the actress-director gripped the Cecil B. DeMille statuette she'd just been handed for a lifetime of work, she let go of a lifetime of feelings.

After years of putting up walls, Foster was real and raw — chanting "I'm 50! I'm 50!" as if that were the shocker. But that was only the first salvo — she took on celebrity, fame, friends, motherhood, family, her sexuality, significant others, privacy, aging, acting, movies, reality TV and other hot buttons that are escaping me now.

Golden Globes 2013: Transcript of Jodie Foster's speech

And with that, this normally innocuous affair, where the drinks keep flowing and the table conversations rarely stop — even when someone is on stage — was set on edge. The house went silent, riveted, as I certainly was. Foster's stream-of-consciousness confessional made Robert Downey Jr., who introduced her, seem like the grounded one — go figure.

The crowd met her emotion with theirs: Hollywood's elite — the artists, the money guys, the women and the men — were wiping away tears. The applause, when it came, was deafening.

It was an extraordinary moment for this private actress on a night that usually doesn't matter. This night the Golden Globes mattered. And Foster owned the night.

Maybe the Oscar-winning actress and filmmaker, whom we've come to know as controlled, cool and cerebral through so many extraordinary films — "Taxi Driver," "The Accused," "The Silence of the Lambs," "Panic Room," "Little Man Tate" — had been waiting for the right setting. Though, in truth, it felt as if Sunday night had been building since she first toddled in front of a camera. Regardless, it will stand among her most memorable performances. To steal a line from one of the directors of "Brave," talking about his animation movie win: Holy cow, holy cow, h-o-ly cow!

PHOTOS: Moments from the show | Best & Worst

The deep breath that the actress took before announcing to the world that she was … "single" was masterful. The rumors about her sexual orientation had shadowed her for years. The name she dared not speak for so long — Cydney — this time was on a broadcast beamed into heartland homes and around the world. It was a significant statement coming from a significant artist, aching in her plea for acceptance — "I want to be seen, to be understood deeply."

She spoke of how she and Cyd have loved and raised their two boys, who were there, radiant as they watched their mom hold forth. Foster looked radiant too — but then freedom does that for you.

She took on the paparazzi and media feeding frenzy that comes with fame.

"I have given everything up there from the time that I was 3 years old," she said. "That's reality show enough, don't you think?"

She evoked reality TV star Honey Boo Boo, assuring the audience she was not that child. It was at times a little crazy, as if there was so much more she wanted to say and not nearly enough time.

Though the specifics of what Foster actually did say, what she meant, why she chose this forum and whether she even had the right to go public in such a public, yet unconventional way, will be debated in the days, weeks and years to come.

What I know is that this was one from the heart. And it was unforgettable.

betsy.sharkey@latimes.com

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