Call it a mutual admiration society: one-time child actress turned Academy Award-winning movie star Jennifer Lawrence paid tribute to one-time child actress turned two-time Oscar winner and filmmaker Jodie Foster, who admitted that the two also share a history of clumsiness at awards ceremonies.
Dressed in a draping mauve Elie Saab gown, Lawrence, 26, took the stage at the British Academy’s Britannia Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills to present Foster, 53, with the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film on Friday. Foster, clad in a shimmering Burberry gown, was accompanied by her wife Alexandra Hedison (the two wed in September) and her two sons Charlie and Kit.
“I was lucky enough to be directed by Jodie in a movie called – wait for it – The Beaver,” deadpanned Lawrence, recalling her stint in Foster’s 2011 film featuring Mel Gibson as a man who can only communicate through a puppet shaped like a stuffed beaver. “Stanley Kubrick, one of the greatest visionaries of all time once said, ‘If it can be written or thought, it can be filmed,’ ” Lawrence added. “But even Stanley Kubrick wouldn’t have the balls to direct a feature film starring a hand puppet!”
Lawrence then described the impact Foster had on her during filming while she was 19 years old. “I was new to the industry and was scared of fame turning me into a weirdo,” she revealed. “But when I would watch Jodie – the smart, solid, rational person who treated everyone around her with complete respect and who was never fake – I knew there was hope.
“Jodie once said to me, ‘One day you’ll look back at the choices you made as an actor and it will reflect something that’s going on in your personal life,’ ’’ Lawrence continued. “Well, I did, and the consistent theme I found with all of my characters was that they were all white trash with too much responsibility!”
Garnering a big laugh from the audience, Lawrence added “If you think about it, it’s completely true.”
Before introducing a video retrospective of Foster’s 44-year career in front of and behind the camera in films including Freaky Friday, Taxi Driver, The Accused and The Silence of the Lambs and glowing compliments from colleagues including Julia Roberts and Kristin Stewart, Lawrence presented Foster with her award.
“She broke down barriers, charted a path and proved that Hollywood’s norms aren’t always normal,” Lawrence said. “Jodie, your brilliance and your kindness inspired me years ago when we first met. And your talent and bravery has made a permanent impact on our industry.”
After taking the stage, Foster said of Lawrence, “I am so flattered that she seems to have followed in my footsteps as the clumsiest actress in Hollywood! I’m there to remind her, in fact I’m going to send her the tape of my very first BAFTA win in 1975 and I had made a huge face plant right onto Princess Anne‘s shoes. And it was a pre-Internet classic that you must not miss. YouTube!”
Foster then made note of her continuous desire to be a part of the film industry. “Honestly all I’ve ever wanted to do was make movies – That’s it!” she said. “Whatever the job description – actor, producer, of course director – to have been given that chance in the trenches alongside you guys, so many talented technicians and artists and creative spirits, that is just a blessing.”
She also acknowledged her family members as they beamed up at her from their stage-side table. “I can look to my sons, Charlie and Kit and say, ‘This is how we made movies. This is how we made films with integrity.’ And I can look to my wife, Alex, and say, ‘This is what I do for a living! I get to tell stories.’”
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“I get to have this one long conversation about joy and hope and just trying to find the messy truth in things,” Foster concluded. “I make movies. You know, we make movies, which is good hard work and it’s given away with pure love. So thank you all for letting me stick around – and I’m not done yet. Just so you know: I am not done yet!”
The tribute to Foster kicked off an A-list evening that also included honors for Ricky Gervais, who received the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy from his admired mentor Christopher Guest; Felicity Jones, who accepted the British Artist of the Year award from her exuberant Inferno co-star Tom Hanks; Ang Lee, who claimed the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing from his Brokeback Mountain actor Jake Gyllenhaal; Ewan McGregor, accepting the Britannia Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic efforts from his Beauty and the Beast co-star Gugu Mbatha-Raw; and Samuel L. Jackson, receiving the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment from his Kong: Skull Island co-star Brie Larson.