On Jodie Foster’s Not-Quite-Coming-Out Party
Cecil B. DeMille was an absurdly prolific showman-producer. He oversaw flamboyant biblical and pseudo-biblical pageants like The Ten Commandments, Samson and Delilah, and The Greatest Show on Earth. They were epics of delirium and decadence that lavished the upside of sin, then sent you home relieved that the sinner isn’t you. He manufactured dual celebrations of vice and virtue, vulgarity and purity.
There isn’t much about DeMille that has to do with Jodie Foster. But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the people responsible for the Golden Globes, named their lifetime achievement award in DeMille’s name, and as the recipient at last night’s ceremony Foster was less her famously reserved public self and more someone DeMille might have enjoyed: a contradiction.
For close to seven minutes, this famously intense woman went for loose spontaneity, yet seemed overcaffeinated and over-rehearsed and overprotectively honest. She opened her remarks with a reference to an old Molly Shannon character from SNL — “I’m 50!” — and talked about leaving her walker at home because it didn’t go with her cleavage. She reminisced, vaguely, about her co-stars and her bond with film crews and then jumped into the heart of the matter. We knew it was the heart of the matter because she said, “So while I’m here being all confessional,” even though, up until that point, she hadn’t really confessed anything.
Foster mentioned that she was about to make her publicist, Jennifer Allen, nervous and said something about being “loud and proud” — and you could feel what this was building to and that she was going to go sideways with it, that she wasn’t going to simply say she was gay because that would have been, what? Passé? Too obvious? Too much for whoever had ever wondered or whoever had already known that Jodie Foster is gay? This publicly serious woman whose best friends include superstar burnouts and pariahs, like Robert Downey Jr. and Mel Gibson, decided to go for comedy. And instead of saying “I’m gay,” she said “I’m single.”
She asked for a “wolf whistle,” provided by Gibson, and then the audio went out, and it felt like the longest, most strategic f-bomb mute in the history of live television. But when the audio came back, Foster was still peeling the onion: This is not a coming-out speech. She did that “a thousand years ago, back in the Stone Age” — and not when she thanked her then-partner, Cydney Bernard, at a Hollywood Reporter breakfast, either, but way back when “in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and coworkers and then gradually and proudly to everyone who knew her — to everyone she actually met.”
The assumption that telling the universe that she’s gay would make Foster a Real Housewife or, in her words, “a Honey Boo Boo child,” simply confuses the meaning of an act she volunteered to halfway perform last night. No one will ever confuse a woman as hotly rigid with intelligence and emotion as Jodie Foster with NeNe Leakes. We just won’t. Nonetheless the live audience was moved to tears, while sometime during Foster’s speech k.d. lang tweeted: “?” And the show’s producers made an obligatory cutaway to a mildly perplexed-looking Jane Lynch.
Any frustration with this sort of point-making makes sense: Why all the defensiveness and self-torture at 50? There are 16-year-olds spearheading LGBTQIA groups. Taylor Swift would have released a dozen albums about what a lesbian she is and how she and Bernard had babies and broke up. But if Foster’s need for privacy has a tinge of the pathological, it’s crucial to remember why. She’s a public figure whose concept of privacy and self-consciousness crystallized when a stranger attempted to assassinate a president in her honor. She’s someone with some damage done to her, who, in her bond with Downey and Gibson, seems to identify with the damages of others. To Gibson, who sat at a table with her two sons, Foster said: “You save me, too.”
We don’t really know what Jodie Foster did last night, even though we kind of do. It was all a perversion of DeMille, giving us something that’s none of our business without actually giving it to us. It was brilliant and cringe-inducing and sad and cautionary: Hollywood is so weird! It made you feel oddly closer to a woman whose astonishing screen self has wrestled with the perils of intimacy, who has always been, in one way or another, single. The contradictions are all Foster knows. This is a woman who comes out by simply Windexing the glass of her closet, then gradually lowering the shade.
— Wesley Morris
The Rise and Fall and Rise of Ben Affleck
Rasheed Wallace popularized the phrase “Ball don’t lie.” Well, IMDb don’t lie, either and Ben Affleck’s IMDb page practically starts flashing, “HERE’S WHERE THE WHEELS CAME OFF!!!!” from 2002 through 2006. It starts with The Sum of All Fears (when he replaced Harrison Ford as Jack Ryan, to the chagrin of pretty much everybody), continues with The Third Wheel (I know, I don’t remember this one, either), Daredevil (the worst modern superhero movie ever made), and finally, 2003’s Gigli (a legendary bomb that wasn’t quite as dreadful as we wanted it to be). That’s how quickly Affleck threw away an A-list career and squandered his much-deserved break from 1998’s Good Will Hunting.
Throw in Affleck’s prodigious earnings and his much-dissected romance with Jennifer Lopez and boom! Affleck became a public punching bag. Even back in Massachusetts, where Affleck and Matt Damon were idolized for being the “hometown boys done good,” the locals started griping because Affleck had fallen for a girl from the Bronx (Yankees country) while positioning himself as the face of Red Sox Nation. From afar, he looked like someone losing his way. Rumors swelled that Affleck was partying too much and gambling too much; on one particularly memorable Project Greenlight episode, Affleck looked and acted like a crazy person, as if he were playing the role of “The A-List Superstar Who Had Been Corrupted By Success And Was Headed For Rehab.”
Meanwhile, the steadier Damon had slapped together a more thoughtful career, choosing his projects carefully, mixing big-budget films (like the Bourne franchise) with riskier roles (like Tom Ripley), establishing himself as a legitimate A-lister, staying out of the tabloids, and basically handling everything better. You couldn’t look at one without thinking of the other. If there was a fork in the Hollywood road, then Affleck went one way and Damon went the other. The title of Affleck’s Christmas 2003 movie seemed almost symbolic: Paycheck. Even after dumping Lopez, falling for Jennifer Garner, and cleaning up his life, his best-case scenario looked like television, maybe a starring role in CSI: Boston or something. Three more failed movies confirmed it: Jersey Girl, then Surviving Christmas, then something called Man About Town in 2006. Ben Affleck was finished. You can have two bad years in Hollywood. You can’t have five.
Except for one catch
Ben Affleck decided that IMDb does lie. Over the next six years, he reinvented himself as a director. Who saw that coming? It started with 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, a quality movie that made everyone say, “Wait, Ben Affleck directed that????” Three years later, he proved it wasn’t a fluke by starring in and directing The Town. Last night, he won a Golden Globe for directing an excellent thriller, Argo. And look, awards shows are mostly ridiculous — just look at Kathryn Bigelow getting screwed out of an Oscar nomination for Zero Dark Thirty, or even The Tourist getting nominated for a Golden Globe 12 months ago. Just know that it was impossible NOT to be delighted for Ben Affleck last night. He thanked everyone from the movie, thanked his agent for sticking with him, thanked his three kids, then saved his wife for last. “[You’re] the reason I’m standing here,” Affleck told her, and when he said it, you believed him.
— Bill Simmons
The Evening in Sexual Nightmares
- Tina Fey, moments after discovering a tuxedoed man hiding underneath the vanity in her dressing room, attempting to inspect her feet with an oversize magnifying glass as she did last-minute prep for the opening monologue: “Quentin Tarantino is here, the star of all my sexual nightmares.”
- Bradley Cooper, listening to Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Dr. Aida Takla-O’Reilly use her speech to exhort him to “Call me, maybe,” and feeling a fist-size knot clench deep in his stomach as images from the preceding night flashed through his aching head: the gentle clinking of flutes overflowing with Moët in a lushly appointed Beverly Hilton suite, a whispered promise to “bury that no-talent Hugh Jackman with one phone call,” gnawing through the pair of silk neckties securing his wrists to the bedposts, an early-dawn escape beneath the linen skirt of a room-service cart. She would later break her promise about Jackman, with Cooper learning a valuable lesson about how to play the award-season game. Call me, maybe, indeed.
- Jeremy Renner’s wan mustache, hoping to ditch his zero-fun face-date to party with Tina Fey’s much more committed lip-brush.
- Robert Downey Jr., pressing his lips to Mel Gibson’s cheek as he exhaled “no one really understands us but Jodie” into his ear. “The three of us should move to Bora Bora and live like conquering sex-emperors, whaddya say? It’ll be very.”
- Kitten videos
- The part in “Hey Ya” when Andre 3000 asks what’s cooler than being cool
- The second season of Arrested Development
- The pudding that gets on the top of the lid
- The realization that all of this is fleeting, that human laughter is our last, best, and only defense against loneliness as we drift, together alone, on this cold, dead rock we call Earth
— Mark Lisanti
Let’s Talk About James Dolan Sitting at the Django Unchained Table With Harvey Weinstein
So you’re Harvey Weinstein. Your reputation as a meddler, a political animal, a showman, an electioneer, a cannonball of showbiz bravado is unparalleled. You are everything that is right about Hollywood, and also many of the things that are concerning. Sure, you gave us 20 years of Tarantino. But you crushed Spielberg in 1999. You bullied us into Cold Mountain. And then you made The King’s Speech happen to everyone. You do what you want, when you want, and always on your own terms. Of course you’re friends with James Dolan.
That’s right, Dolan — the Cablevision scion, owner of the New York Knicks, destroyer of hope, and, apparently, good pal of Weinstein — was seated at a primo table at last night’s festivities. Why? Who cares. What’s important: Dolan was seated next to Kerry Washington, though “next to” is perhaps too generous — Washington created some distance between them, and may have even protected her person with a forearms block. Also at this table: the great Christoph Waltz, the great Jamie Foxx (with date), the great Leo DiCaprio, and the great QT (with date). NONE OF THESE PEOPLE WANTS TO TALK TO JAMES DOLAN. TRUST ME.
First spotted by Knicks beat writer Frank Isola (an essential follow whether you’re a basketball fan or just into trolls) and captured by @cjzero above, this photo should compromise all of your feelings about Django. So much so that I yearn to compare Dolan to DiCaprio’s character, Calvin Candie. But I won’t do that. I would never compare James Dolan to a sadistic, spoiled, feckless, irrational, self-righteous plantation owner. Never.
Les Misérables. The Bluh Is Not Silent.
Isn’t there some industrious 19-year-old on Tumblr who has made a supercut of every belabored pronunciation of “Les Misérables” during the ceremony? Did all the presenters cross-check with Google translate before going onstage to announce the nominees? Does “Les Mis” sound like a phrase that should only be uttered on Smash, thus inappropriate for such an illustrious evening? Was Anne Hathaway’s introductory “BLERGH” before accepting her inevitable Best Supporting Actress award a subtle hat-tip to the most neglected syllable of the 2013 awards season?
— Emily Yoshida
Clairie Mathidanes, Method Agent
What must have been going through the minds of the venerable members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when Claire Danes swiftly power-walked onstage to collect her award for playing Carrie Mathison, and then indeed began to channel Carrie Mathison? Did they feel at all silly for voting for a performance that is, quite possibly, plucked effortlessly from the burbling stream of mania apparently omnipresent somewhere just below Claire’s surface-level behavioral patterns? Or was the HFPA internally slow-clapping for the fact that Claire Danes has chosen to live her life in character? Me, I’m saying the latter. When Danes really got going, and started dropping Carrie-ism after Carrie-ism — the “in this medium in this moment in this company” [finger point, swallow]; the “such brave choices so relentlessly” [arguable seduction face]; the “and we’re all better for it” [deep breath deep breath] — I got sucked right back into the unceasing whiplashing insanity of Homeland S2. A season’s worth of virtuoso crazy-person shit, stuffed into a neat minute and a half.
By the way, groans for the workshopped “Carrie was in fact carrying” line, but thanking your as-of-then unborn son for helping you fight fictional terrorism? That’s Mother of the Year stuff. And while we’re at it — below, at the 6:40 mark, is the 1995 Golden Globes win that Danes referenced last night. Other than the fact that she was given the award by Dudley Moore and a pantsuited Cybill Shepherd, not that much has changed!
— Amos Barshad
Memo to Harvey Weinstein: Don’t Bring a Bayonet to a Pistol Fight
“Here’s the deal. If I can win the country for Obama at the Democratic National Convention, you bet your ass I can win the Oscar for Lincoln at some second-tier Hollywood dog-and-pony show. It’s arithmetic.”
Kristen & Will
It’s difficult to narrow down a favorite Kristen Wiig character during her prolific SNL tenure, but perhaps the silliest was her teaming with Fred Armisen as the improvisational singing duo Garth and Kat.
[hulu id=dmaxxeyizbmlr48gs2tcug width=510 height=324]
I’m forever in a state of missing Wiig ( I watch her Ruby Tuesday/She’s a Rainbow swan-song sketch on a weekly basis, because I enjoy feeling things), I was thrilled to watch her walk onstage last night, especially accompanied by Will Ferrell. A few seconds in, that excitement level was turned up to 11, because it was clear we were about to get a refined, funnier, equally silly awards-show version of Garth and Kat. Some of the highlights:
0:09 This Wiig-face, coupled with that Ferrell-stache, which lets you know what type of skit this is about to be.
Also, the way they’re tenderly almost holding hands, which is great.
0:22 They still haven’t said anything, but the audience has yet to stop laughing.
1:18 Ferrell pulls out movie cheat sheet.
1:43 Wiig: “And you’re in Yemennnnn ”
1:49 Ferrell: “Judi Dench, where did she come from?”
1:57 Ferrell: “Unknown, she used to be a police officer.”
2:08 Wiig: “And the marigolds, are just in her hair ”
2:16 Both: “You, you get OUT of here”
2:25 Ferrell: “J-Law” — much to the delight of J-Law.
2:32 Both: “And, and THE SILVER.” Ferrell: “I thought it was an animated film.”
3:13 Both: “That guy comes, and is like, ‘I think I know what The Quartet is.” Ferrell: “But he doesn’t.”
3:21 Both: “Mariel Streep.”
3:28 Ferrell: “She’s that sassy sheriff.”
Geniuses at work.
— Rembert Browne
Other Things Tommy Lee Jones Doesn’t Enjoy, Besides Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig’s Delightful Antics
— Andy Greenwald
Reactions of the Night, Parts 1 and 2
Adele — winner of like 100 major awards including eight Grammys — gives a Taylor Swift–style “I am totally shocked to have won a major award” speech; Taylor Swift is not amused.
“Lewis CK” or whatever.
— Alex Pappademas
Let’s Run It Back With a GIF of Taylor Swift, Because You Needed to See Her Reaction in Motion
Very happy to see that Taylor Swift has already turned into Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development. Also, let’s get it over with already and induct Lena Dunham’s bloody heels into the Golden Globes Hall of Fame.
— Jay Kang
Who’s Got the Plausibility Problem Now?
“These briefcases contain the serial numbers of every pacemaker in this room. If Homeland loses a single award, an off-site conspirator will initiate the remote infarction sequence. Your deaths are just a text message away. Go ahead, call our bluff. They thought we were bluffing at the Emmys, too.”
It’s Like No One in Hollywood Is Paying Attention to the Lakers’ Record
Kobe Bryant’s appearance at the HBO party has Hollywood folk acting like utter fools
— Lacey Rose (@LaceyVRose) January 14, 2013
It Says, “I Beat Meryl”
It’s an Honor Just to Be Nominated, in 1994
acceptance speech: suck gobble gargle suck. “I’m no longer lonely”-“I shall use this statue to battle my self doubt.” swallow. #sniffcocaine
— Roseanne Barr (@TheRealRoseanne) January 14, 2013
It Was a Tough Night for Dog President
While Darcy St. Fudge bore the indignity of a soul-crushing loss with a smile, Damian Francisco, always a brooder, retreated further inward. There’s always next year.