Merlene Davis: Some thoughts about Jodie Foster's Golden Globes speech

As I struggled to stay awake to see which motion picture had won this year's Golden Globe award Sunday night, Jodie Foster was presented the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.

When Foster walked on stage and began the traditional speech in which she thanked her family and all those who have bought tickets to her films, I wanted her to finish and be gone before my eyes closed involuntarily.

And then sleepiness left. At first I was just a bit miffed because the speech went on so long. But then I began trying to figure out just what I was watching and what the heck she was saying.

Was I seeing someone's mental state disintegrate before millions of people? The camera zooming to a shocked Mel Gibson gave credence to that.

Or was I watching a woman being forced to hesitantly announce her sexual orientation in front of her two sons, who obviously already knew?

I was so confused, and so was my husband, who also was watching. And my husband and I could not have cared less about Foster's sexual orientation.

But apparently much of the rest of the world that scrutinizes the lives of Hollywood folks instead of living their own lives has whispered about Foster for years. I obviously don't run in those circles.

Foster said friends and family have long known her sexual orientation. She said that revelation happened "about a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age." And then, in case idiots like me were still trying to figure out the point of the speech, Foster acknowledged her former partner, Cydney Bernard, calling her a "co-parent" and "ex-partner in love."

The next day, some gay bloggers and publications criticized Foster for not "coming out" sooner. Their reasoning was that young lesbian, gay and bisexual people need famous gay public figures to reveal their sexual orientation to let young people know being gay is nothing to be ashamed of.

There were other critics who said Foster didn't come out far enough. She never mentioned lesbian or gay in her uncomfortable and rambling speech.

Please. If Foster, at age 50, has reached a point in her life when she can talk very publicly about her sexuality, then fine. That's up to her. She said it the way she wanted to, and now that's over with.

Her children smiled and applauded their mother. Her speech was acceptable to them, and they are the ones who really matter.

I was jarred, however, when Foster began talking as if she were retiring from acting. That, of all the things she said, was totally unacceptable to me. She's just too good.

"I may never be up on this stage again; on any stage for that matter," she said. "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, maybe it will be so quiet and delicate that only dogs can hear it whistle."


But I have since learned that was not what she was saying. "I could never stop acting," she said backstage. "You'd have to drag me behind a team of horses. ... My work is evolving."

And so should our expectation and acceptance of others. Foster's gift is being a brilliant actor for 47 years. Neither my opinion of her nor yours should change just because she felt the need to tell us who she prefers to love.