Confession time: I did not watch the Golden Globes. I don't have a TV. The reason I don't have a TV is not because I am an ironic hipster douchebag that thinks that television is for the masses of intellectually stunted sheeple -- I want to punch these people as much as the rest of you -- but because I didn't own the one we had in the living room and it went with the roommate who moved out, and we didn't subscribe to any of the TV channels on our cable service when we had one anyway. The internet and NetFlix were fine, and since the TV has gone walkies the internet will do.

Also, I was ready to throw something at the wall after watching an entire Emmys presentation where Sherlock was nominated for pretty much everything short of Best Formulaic Jerkass Sitcom and then won nothing. After the ABC people spent half an hour on the red carpet asking inane questions about hobbits of absolutely everyone there except Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, who were about twenty feet away the entire time.

Instead, I follow @fuggirls on Twitter. They tell me all the really important things about the telecast, like who showed up wearing a translucent Hefty bag fishtail high-low and two doilies with her breasts cinched all the way up under her chin. And, if the answer to this is not "Cher", "Rupaul", or occasionally "Bai Ling", recommend a few rehab clinics they might want to look into. Then they make sure to compliment her shoes or her razzle-dazzle clutch, because credit where credit is due.

So I managed to miss Jodie Foster's acceptance speech. I've seen the transcript, and as the Globes people apparently let her go on for about ten minutes without interruption -- not quite unprecedented, but the people doing these telecasts are so pernickety that they have now declared that even Oscar speeches are supposed to be done in a minute or less -- I assume that her delivery was rather nervous but also rather heartfelt, and they had too much respect for it to stop her.

tumblr being tumblr, they psychically sensed that Robert Downey Jr was involved in the whole shebang somehow, and if they had managed to cap and gif every last nanosecond he was on camera any sooner, they would be posting the damn things retroactively. This seems to be one of the more popular ones, basically because internet, and RDJ laughing, and you know what happens from there.



Strangely, nobody seems to have bothered to note the wider context. There is actually a reason that they got Downey to hand over her award in the first place. Way back in a magical time called "the '90s", when women wore four layers of shoulder pads and almost everyone wore patently ridiculous neon socks, Foster directed a film called Home For The Holidays, in which RDJ had one of the leading roles. At that point, Downey was doing his damnedest to spend every waking hour smashed out of his skull on virtually anything he could get his hands on, mostly heroin. The story goes, that while Foster thought he was turning in a perfectly creditable performance, she also thought it was obvious that he was coming in to work wrecked, and that this was an incredibly stupid idea. She pulled the Director Card, cornered him somewhere -- his trailer, I think -- and told him very bluntly that this film was an easy one and that he had not totally fucked anything up yet, but that someday, probably soon, he was going to run into a film that he couldn't knock out in his sleep, and that would be a very bad thing. So he should seriously quit, for real, before he torpedoed his life.

He didn't listen to her, of course, because nobody ever listens to that kind of thing when it comes from outside their own head. But I find it very revealing that she evidently decided it was more important to tell him not to fuck up his life, than to tell him not to fuck up her film. People are really reluctant to speak up about that kind of thing if it's not scuttling their own lives, and sometimes even if it is. She cared enough to try and get through to a kid whom she had essentially just met, even though she likely knew that it wouldn't work, and that her job as a director would abruptly become ten thousand percent harder if he decided to be belligerent about it, instead just generally thoughtless and irresponsible.

A lot of ex-junkies do not retain friendships they made when they were snorkeling head-down in a bucket of drugs. Downey does. It's partly because when you go to rehab, they tell you outright that might be a good idea to drop people, places and things that remind you of using, as the familiar experience can send you into horrible cravings and thence into relapse. It's also partly because when you spend most of your time sitting around snorting random things with strangers, most of the people you meet also spend most of their time sitting around and snorting random things with strangers, and it turns out that those anecdotes are really not very interesting when you sober up. On the other side of things, most of the non-drug-snorking people you know during that phase of your life will probably have noticed that you are a moody bastard, and the only thing you can really talk about is sitting around being high with a bunch of people whose names you don't even remember.

The fact that Downey has kept up so extraordinarily many friendships that he started in between attempts to score suggests to me that A. his personality while high, while undoubtedly irritating as fuck at times, was probably fundamentally the same as it is when sober, and B. he was not nearly as gaping an asshole as he could have been. B in particular is supported by a lot of circumstantial evidence, such as the fact that he was arrested about a jillion times over the course of a couple of decades, and as far as I know, not one of those times was for a violent crime. He was catastrophically reckless and stupid -- I seem to recall DUI charges mixed in with all the possession stuff -- but he did not go around intentionally running over paparazzi and  picking fights. One of his arrests was only news for about ten minutes until it came out that the person whose house he was trespassing in was specifically declining to press any charges at all, which was less than interesting to an industry that ran for like a week and a half on Lindsay Lohan trying to tell the cops that that wasn't her coke because those weren't her pants.

However much he didn't listen at the time, RDJ has made it obvious that he does remember an awful lot of the many, many attempts people made over the years to get him to quit digging himself into a hole. It counts for a lot with him. Some of his best friends now are people who practically introduced themselves with, "You are a very bright person, a very talented actor, and a very nice kid. I would really appreciate it if I didn't have to go to your funeral in a couple of years to find out exactly what you OD'd on." I don't know how consistently close he and Foster have stayed over the years, but that particular attempt at intervention is one that's stayed with him for a very long time -- she didn't have to stick her neck out for him, and she tried to anyway.

So that's why he got to hand over her award, and why he's so happy to be standing next to her in the crowd.

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