Jodie Foster Thanks Cydney in Accepting Sherry Lansing Leadership Award

In a surprising and moving speech on Tuesday, Jodie Foster,
45, thanked "my beautiful Cydney who sticks with me through all the rotten
and the bliss" when she accepted the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award at the
16th annual Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast.

The award is named after the former chief of Paramount Pictures, Sherry Lansing,
who told the
Associated Press
that she was "overwhelmed to be presenting it to Jodie."

The L.A.
Daily News
reporter covering the event, Greg Hernandez, noted surprise "at
the public acknowledgment of who I presume is Cydney Bernard, the woman who
is widely reported to be her life partner," because Foster has always been
"so intensely private."

In her speech, which the Daily News described as "funny and heart-warming,"
Foster went on to say, "I don’t feel very powerful. I feel fragile …
unsure, struggling to figure it all out, trying to get there even though I’m
not sure where there is … I’ve been working in this business for 42 years
and there’s no way you can do that and not be as nutty as a fruitcake."

Characterizing herself as a "professional" and a "gentleman,"
Foster admitted: "I always feel like something of an impostor. I don’t
know what I’m doing. I suppose that’s my one little secret, the secret of my
success."

But, she added: "Growing up, there were hardly any women in my professional
sphere — there was maybe a script supervisor, the makeup artist and the
lady who played my mother. I became the prodigal daughter after I proved myself
in a family of men."

Foster with her mother at the event

Foster has steadfastly refused to discuss or publicly acknowledge
her relationship with Cydney Bernard, whom she reportedly met on the set of
Sommersby in 1993. Although Bernard has accompanied her to premieres
and public events outside the United States, Foster has never brought her to public events
in America.

But in the last year or so, Foster has seemed to be taking small steps toward making
her private life a little bit more public.

In an interview
with More magazine
in September to promote her recent film The
Brave One
, the interviewer commented on the Tiffany ring she was wearing,
and Foster acknowledged it was "an eternity ring" that she never takes
off, but refused to elaborate further. That same month she used the word "partner"
for the first time in an interview, when commenting on her acting career to
The Denver Post, saying, “I need to have something that doesn’t
belong to my mom, doesn’t belong to my kids, doesn’t belong to my
partner.”

When Foster donated funds in July to the newly opened Saban Center for Health
and Wellness in Woodland Hills, Calif., she also donated plaques bearing
the handprints of her
sons
, Kit Bernard Foster and Charles Bernard Foster.

"I just wanted to stand for what I stand for," Foster said yesterday. "I wasn’t really interested
in living someone else’s career."

The annual event, co-sponsored by The Hollywood Reporter
in conjunction with their annual Power 100 issue honoring powerful
women in entertainment, was attended by 640 guests at the Beverly Hills Hotel,
with Queen Latifah and John Travolta serving as keynote speakers.

Of Foster’s award, Travolta said: "There’s no one better suited for this than Jodie. She’s powerful, she’s
talented, she’s creative, she’s got a lot of stamina to get things done. So
this is her award, you know?"

Foster flanked by Queen Latifah, Susanne Daniels (President
of Entertainment, Lifetime Entertainment Services), Sherry Lansing, John Travolta
and Andrea Wong (President & CEO, Lifetime Entertainment Services)

Foster’s next film, a family adventure titled Nim’s Island,
will be released in 2008.

Responding to a question from USA
Today
about whether she’s hoping her Nim’s Island character will be made into an
action figure, Foster replied, "I wear a pretty stupid hat and [my character's]
really scared and neurotic. So if neurotic dolls are what’s ‘in’ next year,
then I guess that’ll be me."

Also see photos of Foster at the Trevor Project fundraiser last week, and our take on some of the best and worst of her
film career in She
Made Me Watch This!
: The Jodie Foster Edition
.

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