Who would’ve guessed that an A-list actress admitting her real age would be a footnote of her awards show acceptance speech? Jodie Foster had bigger things to confess at the Golden Globes… or did she? You’d think with all the years she had to plan her big coming out moment, she would’ve seemed better prepared for it, that she at least would’ve owned it more.
I know we’re in for some kind of Big Gay Debate over what happened tonight and, especially, how it happened. And straight people, for the most part, are going to shrug and say, “What’s the big deal?” or accuse the mean gays of being too rough on Jodie, thus validating her resistance to come out in the first place.
I don’t want to attack Jodie Foster, who I will always think of first as a brilliant actress and filmmaker before I give a rat’s ass about her personal life. I’m not going to judge her reluctance to come out for all those years. Coming out wasn’t easy for me, and I didn’t have 100 million fans to do it to.
But I want to say something to her.
Look, I know it’s really petty and condescending and almost always a lie when you’re having an argument with someone and you say, “I’m not mad. I just feel sorry for you.” Honestly, though, that’s how I feel.
I feel sorry for you, Jodie Foster.
I know celebrities appreciate the Golden Globes as much for their open bar as for their prestige, but for whatever it’s worth, those nice, befuddled foreign press people were trying to tell you how much they like your movies. They were saying, “Hey, in case your money and your fame and all the other awards you’ve won haven’t clued you in, you’re kind of good at what you do, and we’re grateful to have you around.” And then you take their statue made of precious metals and wave it around and start settling scores. I’m sure quite a few of the people who nominated you were backstage warbling, “Que?” and “Porquois?” and however you say “WTF?!” in German.
Nobody told you to do that, Jodie. Instead of giving the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the viewing audience a good anecdote from Taxi Driver or even a spirited defense of The Beaver, you chose to make the moment all about your sexuality. And at the same time, you were saying, “It’s none of your business!” Or something. Maybe it was the open bar, but your point was a bit unclear.
All I know is that you weren’t coming across the way people should in their acceptance speeches for lifetime achievement awards. What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, right. Proud.
You want to keep your private life separate from your filmmaking? Do a damn Advocate interview about the gay stuff and then use the Golden Globes to talk about, I don’t know, movies.
The strangest part of the whole thing was your joke about your publicist being nervous about what you were about to do. Really? Because if your publicist was nervous about anything, I’m guessing it’s that you wouldn’t need her anymore. That’s what it’s like to be open about who you are, especially if you’re as boring as you say. Once it becomes clear that you have nothing to hide, people will stop looking.
Your publicist’s phone is going to ring a lot in the next few weeks, sure, but then it’s going to stop. Eventually, all the calls she makes will be outgoing, the next time you have a movie to promote. You being a lesbian can’t compete with Lindsay Lohan being a total train wreck, especially not in 2013. There’s even a lesbian senator now, you know? You are approximately the 9,438th high-profile lesbian to come out of the closet. Um… congratulations?
Look, you’re a one-in-seven billion type of talent, a totally uniquely gifted person, and I forget sometimes that people I respect as much as you can be sad sometimes. You weren’t just hiding your sexuality all those years. It appears you were hiding a lot of anger, too. I’m sorry to hear that, but honestly, now that you’ve come out, I hope you can let that go.
If you were worried that homophobia would sink your career, I think you’ll find that Hollywood and America love you and always will.
If you were worried that the gay community would shun you because it took you so long to come out, I think you’ll find them swooning over you even more now, whether or not you ever grand marshal a pride parade.
And if you were worried that you wouldn’t win any more awards now that we know this little fact about you, I think you forget how easy it is to win a GLAAD award. Christina Aguilera has one. Seriously.
I still love you, Jodie, and I think you’ll find that admitting your sexuality isn’t some horrific surrender of your privacy, like you seemed to fear. It’s empowering, exhilarating and one hell of a big relief. Take some time now that you’ve made the big announcement, but I guarantee you’ll be glad you did it.
And you know how you can let people know that you’ve made your peace with who you are and how the world sees you? Maybe next time you win an award, you’ll just hold it up and say, “Thank you.”