I’ve been trying to participate more with blog-a-thons and online conversations here, to spice up ‘A Fistful of Films’, but when I saw that Jodie Foster was the LAMB’s Acting School subject I immediately decided to pass until next month. I mean, Jodie Foster? I’m struggling to identify with her relevance at this point. I do understand that she’s been acting for decades and has two Oscars and has legions of fans but she was one of those actresses that I never connected with. I just never believe her and I hardly ever feel compelled to watch her. On top of that, it’s not like her closed door personal life is all that relevant either, since she seems confused about what all she wants to tell us about herself (although I will say that I thought her Globe’s speech was kind of brilliant). At the end of the day, Foster just doesn’t interest me.
And that got me thinking, maybe I should do the total opposite of what everyone else is going to do and just pick apart her as an actress instead of praise her. I mean, we are told we can discuss her worst performances; right?
So I want to just come out and say that I consider Jodie Foster’s two Oscar wins two of the worst Oscar decisions in the history of the award, not simply because they were poor performances (and this is coming from someone who really liked ‘The Silence of the Lambs’) but because the choices in BOTH years were so brilliant that I’m appalled the least inspired choice actually won. Foster, for me, is like the female version of Tom Hanks except that while Tom Hank’s two Oscar wins (back to back at that) are an even bigger travesty in their disgustingness, I actually like his more understated work and would probably nominated him a few times (he comes close to a win in 1996 for his supporting work in ‘That Thing You Do’).
Foster has just never excited me.
‘The Accused’ is Oscar bait to the max, and I understand why she won. It was pretty much one of those situations where a child star turns into an adult on the screen for many in a performance where she whores is up, screams a lot and gets degraded. It was deglam with that added layer of unjust treatment, and those kinds of theatrics make AMPAS wet their panties. Not to mention the fact that she was previously nominated for her child performance in Scorsese’s ‘Taxi Driver’ (the one performance of hers that I must admit to respecting) and had a lot of clout in the industry. So, I understand her win, but I can’t agree with it; like at all. She was honestly a train wreck, emoting like a crazy person and played nothing but a clichéd stereotype. I mean, how anyone can find this anything other than embarrassing is beyond me. Even Melanie Griffith, who did nothing of real note in ‘Working Girl’, would have made a more respectable Oscar winner considering that she was light, fresh and funny.
But seriously, how can you vote against Glenn Close or Meryl Streep; two of the greatest performances by an actress EVER given (Streep would make my top ten of all time, and Close would rest comfortably in the top twenty-five)? It’s rather preposterous when you look at the scope of those performances. There is no depth in Foster’s work and yet you can see the MANY layers provided by both Close and Streep. It’s not like the Oscar hasn’t gone to the least deserving role before, but it is rare to have the gap between quality so large.
And then that brings me to 1991. Understanding this win is a little harder. I guess voters had a hard time deciding which of Scott’s stars they should award and the fact that Davis was getting the bulk of the attention and was a recent winner (she won supporting the same year Foster won for ‘The Accused’) and yet you still had Laura Dern or Susan Sarandon so awarding Foster again for doing so little baffles me. I even preferred Bette Midler who was funny and sharp witted and entertaining to the hilt. I know that many adore this Foster performance, but I just don’t get that. It is NOT a bad performance, just a blandly executed one. She does very little, and while this is mostly an internal performance and so it needed a subtle touch, I just found Foster’s approach to be void of any real intensity, and when you are going that subtle you really need to bring an internal intensity. Anthony Hopkins, who was in like fifteen minutes of the movie, ate her alive. In fact, everyone in that movie did. She just disappeared, and not in a ‘she disappeared into the character’ but in ‘she disappeared in the film and I forgot to care about her’.
So, I know that many will disagree with me, but whatever.