So, OK, it was powerful. But what did it mean?
Exactly what Foster wanted it to mean. Whatever that was.
Backstage reporters didn't have much luck decoding a speech some found cryptic and confusing. Part of the problem was no one seemed to want to outright say to the Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement recipient, "So, you just kinda came out on national TV, right?"
Responding to a question that basically, but not explicitly addressed the subject, Foster said, "The speech kind of speaks for itself."
"I feel like I'm graduating from something," she continued. "It's a big moment. I wanted to say what's most on my heart."
During the nearly seven-minute speech, Foster broached the topic of her sexuality.
"Now, apparently, I'm told 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," she told a captivated audience. "But I'm not Honey Boo Boo Child."
However, while not explicitly describing herself as a lesbian, Foster did discuss "coming out" to her family and friends "about 1,000 years back in the Stone Age." Then she pointed to "one of the deepest loves of my life, my heroic coparent, my ex-partner in love but righteous soul sister in life, Cydney Bernard...Thank you Cyd, I am so proud of our modern family," a reference to Foster's sons, Charlie and Kit, also in attendance.
Reporters and Foster had better luck at parsing the end of her speech, in which she spoke of magic sticks and of making sounds that no one hears. Contrary to what Wikipedia contributors initially believed, Foster was not announcing her retirement from Hollywood.
"I could never stop acting," Foster said. "You'd have to drag me behind a team of horses. I'd like to be directing tomorrow."
Foster was also crystal clear about her position on Mel Gibson, whose meltdowns have cooled his once A-list career. "He's someone I love…It's not difficult to say that. It's very easy to say that," she said. "I think it's important when people are struggling, you don't run away from them."
(Originally published Jan. 13, 2013, at 9:46 p.m. PT.)