Producer, director and two-time Academy Award winning actress Jodie Foster, who turned 50 last year, is set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes this Sunday, and it could not be more well deserved. While Foster’s visceral turns in Taxi Driver, The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs are reason enough to adore the former child star who attended Yale, we thought we’d honor her with the reasons we love her.
From her screen debut as a toddler in a Coppertone commercial to her directing debut with Little Man Tate to voicing a Simpson’s episode and beyond, Jodie’s a cultural icon who’s as sexy in an Oscar gown as when she’s snapped by paparazzi food shopping in her sweats in Brentwood.
We can’t remember a time when we didn't love Jodie Foster and here are the top 10 reasons why.
10) She Gave Us One of the Greatest Holiday Movies of All Time
Jodie’s second directorial feature Home for the Holidays has become the gold standard of film portraying family dysfunction at the holidays. The 1995 seamless mini-masterpiece stars Holly Hunter, Robert Downey Jr., Claire Danes, Dylan McDermott and Hollywood legends Anne Bancroft and Charles Durning, and spawned classic lines including Hunter’s character telling her tightly-wound sister, “We don't have to like each other, Jo. We're family.”
9) She Played the Trashy Teen Temptress in Cult Classics
When Jodie was in her late teens she took on a pair of roles playing an absolute wild child in Foxes (with The Runaways' Cherie Curry) and Carny (both from 1980) that made every disenfranchised young girl want to climb out her bedroom window at night to drink and joyride.
8) She Fully Commits Even When She’s Awkwardly Cast in Period Romances
There’s no denying Jodie’s thespian chops, but she starred in a pair of period pieces that required her to make moon eyes at leading men, something that proved ultimately awkward despite her best emoting. All valiant attempts aside, something was just off in her Somersby love scenes with Richard Gere and with those stolen glances with Crouching Tiger star Chow Yun-Fat in Anna and the King. But don’t take our word for it. You be the judge.
7) She’s Fluent in French
A total smarty-pants, Jodie attended Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles until she graduated and went on to Yale. As a result, she is a silver-tongued master of the French language, as evidenced by this totally mesmerizing video that we could watch on a loop.
6) She Kicks Ass
Not only did Jodie give us one of the finest heroines of modern cinema with her gritty incarnation of Clarice Starling facing off (pun intended) with Anthony Hopkins’ Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, but she pretty much taught a wee Kristen Stewart everything she knows about kicking bad guy ass when the duo, who eerily both have voices like long-haul truckers, played mother and daughter in Panic Room. More recently, Jodie played a vigilante you wouldn’t want to f*ck with in The Brave One.
5) She gave us the language of Nell
Back in 1994 Jodie very earnestly made Nell, about a woman raised virtually by wolves, isolated and alone, in a remote cabin in Appalachia. The film costarred Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, and Jodie landed an Oscar nomination for the part. Despite the film’s serious themes the language of Nell has become highly quotable. Who can forget such arresting dialogue as this? “Chicka, chicka, chickabee. / T'ee an me an t'ee an me. / Ressa, ressa, ressa me, / Chicka, chicka, chickabee.”
4) She Made a Movie Called ‘The Beaver’
Jodie had to have been in on the joke when she signed on to direct and star in a movie entitled “The Beaver" right? She was in on the joke? She had to have been. Sadly, because she cast her pal, the incredibly hateful and unstable Mel Gibson, in the lead role of a depressive father and husband who uses a beaver puppet to communicate, nobody saw the film. I mean, how does Jodie Foster make a movie called The BEAVER, which costars the ubiquitous Jennifer Lawrence, and nobody sees it? It’s a slam dunk right?
3) She’s a Former Child Star Who Isn’t Off Her Nut
As we mentioned earlier, Jodie has been in the public eye since even the older among us can remember. She began working in that Coppertone commercial and virtually never stopped. She starred on television, for instance, as the young con artist in the TV series Paper Moon before moving on to Disney flicks like Candleshoe and the original Freaky Friday. Not just a cute kid Jodie proved her acting prowess early on taking on the role of a pre-teen prostitute opposite Robert DeNiro in Martin Scorsese’s modern noir Taxi Driver.
Contrary to the adult lives of so many child stars who're in and out of rehab she appears to have weathered early fame fairly unscathed. Here’s a clip of Jodie’s Freaky Friday -- not of that other child actress who starred in the remake.
2) She Likes the Ladies (We're Pretty Sure)!
Not one to really confirm or deny, Jodie remained mum about all of those lesbian rumors that swirled about her since she and Scott Baio stopped escorting each other to Hollywood parties at the age of 13. That is, until 2007, when she thanked Cydney Bernard, the woman who was presumably her partner at the time. She was, after all, living with Cydney and raising her two sons with her. While accepting the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the 16th annual Women in Entertainment Breakfast Foster thanked, “my beautiful Cydney, who sticks with me through the rotten and the bliss,” which was widely considered to be tantamount to coming out at the time. She and Cydney are no longer together, but maybe there’s a special someone Jodie intends to thank while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award this Sunday. Since Jodie's speech from the award breakfast is not available here's a picture of her with Nastassja Kinski in The Hotel New Hampshire, the 1984 film in which Jodie's character has a fling with Nastassja's, a woman who thinks she's a bear.
1) She’s the Ultimate Tomboy
They just don’t make wisecracking adorable tomboys like vintage Jodie anymore – not in Hollywood anyway. From her Disney pics to Scorsese’s Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore Jodie was the inspiration and crush for a generation of burgeoning lesbians. Here’s Jodie’s unforgettable “weird” speech from Alice.
Main image via Getty.