Jodie Foster, who received the Cecil B. Demille Award for her 47-year-long career in Hollywood, offered an acceptance speech that has left audiences and critics baffled, outraged and inspired in equal measure. Foster addressed her sexuality more openly than she ever has — without actually saying she's a lesbian — while also taking the press at large to task for continuing to bring up the issue.
"I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago in the stone age," Foster said. "If you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, you might value privacy."
The overall message was unclear. Was she officially coming out? Did she announce her retirement from acting and directing? What does she have against Honey Boo Boo? It didn't help matters that the audio cut out at a crucial moment as she discussed "a big coming out speech." So what did the six-and-a-half-minute ramble actually mean?
We set out to decode it:
"I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I’m a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh Jennifer? But I’m just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? So I’m going to need your support on this. I am single. Yes I am, I am single. No, I'm kidding, but I'm not really kidding."
TRANSLATION: I recognize your hunger for a big confessional moment from me, and for that I am going to mess with you.
"Now I’m told, apparently that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show. You know, you guys might be surprised, but I am not Honey Boo Boo Child. No, I’m sorry, that’s just not me. It never was and it never will be."
TRANSLATION: I am going to equate being upfront about your sexuality with the more tasteless and tacky aspects of our reality TV culture, no matter how damaging it may be for young gays and lesbians to see a successful public figure refuse to say the word "lesbian."
"There is no way I could ever stand here without acknowledging one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic co-parent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, my confessor, ski buddy, consigliere, most beloved BFF of 20 years, Cydney Bernard. Thank you, Cyd. I am so proud of our modern family."
TRANSLATION: I was in a long-term relationship with a woman, and we have two children together. This is not necessarily news, but it's the first time I've acknowledged her in front of television cameras.
"This feels like the end of one era and the beginning of something else. Scary and exciting and now what? Well, I may never be up on this stage again, on any stage for that matter."
TRANSLATION: It's difficult not feel you're in some moment of transition when an organization gives you a lifetime achievement award, even if you're only 50 years old.
So in summation: Jodie Foster doesn't need to come out of the closet because she already is out of the closet even if she never officially came out of the closet. And she's not retiring from Hollywood, despite how the end of her speech was initially interpreted. "I could never stop acting," Foster told reporters backstage. "You'd have to drag me behind a team of horses. I'd like to be directing tomorrow."
But she is definitely single, we know that much.