Double Oscar winner Jodie Foster could bring home Emmy for ‘True Detective: Night Country’

Jodie Foster is having a good year. The two-time Oscar winner returned to the attention of the academy for the first time since 1995 with a nomination for “Nyad.” Now, she and showrunner Issa López have revamped HBO’s flagging “True Detective” with the best entry since the show’s first season.

“True Detective: Night Country” stars Foster as an acid-tongue, spiky police chief who is tasked with investigating the disappearance of eight men in the spooky, fictional town of Ennis, Alaska. Playing a detective will naturally harken viewers’ minds back to her turn as Clarice Starling in “The Silence of the Lambs,” the film for which she won her second Best Actress Oscar (“The Accused” being the other). It’s her meatiest role in years and Foster devours it.

Brian Tallerico (Roger Ebert) observed: “Our unsteady guiding hand through this darkness is Liz Danvers, played with icy perfection by Jodie Foster. Reminding us that she is quite simply one of the best to ever do it, Foster understands that Danvers will recall one of fiction’s most notable crime solvers in Clarice Starling in early episodes—it’s impossible not to be reminded of her Oscar-winning performance when she’s shining a flashlight around a potentially threatening location—but Liz becomes her own character. Foster captures the kind of person who is determined to find justice but cynical enough to know how rarely that happens and how little satisfaction it can bring when it does.”

Kristen Baldwin (Entertainment Weekly) explained: “There is a kind of magic in Foster’s performance; the actress is having so much fun as this DGAF gadfly that she transforms Danvers from a potential cliché into a mesmerizing and often-hilarious antihero. There’s a running joke about Liz’s multiple affairs with the married men of Ennis, and Foster delivers her character’s most obnoxious dialogue with gleeful relish (‘I’m sorry Bill’s such a terrible lay. You have my sympathies!’). Even as she brings legitimate comic relief to the (literally) dark proceedings, the actress ensures that Danvers’ volatility remains rooted in the anger that cleaves so stubbornly to grief.”

Hoai-Tran Bui (Inverse) opined: “Foster, in a performance so steely that she could cut through armor, is magnetic to watch as the obsessive Liz Danvers, a brilliant detective exiled to this cold small town. Foster’s casting as one of the lead detectives is a clear callback to ‘The Silence of the Lambs,’ but she instantly sets Liz Danvers apart from Clarice Starling with a performance as harsh and brutal as the show’s winter setting… Foster clearly relishes playing such an unlikable character, wearing Danvers’ heavy coat-like battle armor and scowling her way through an increasingly baffling case.”

It’s very easy to make the case for Foster being in contention for an Emmy nomination this year. “Nyad” returned her to the awards scene and that renaissance should continue here. Veterans are often nominated in the category in which Foster will be competing: Best TV Move/Limited Series Actress. Recent examples include Laura Dern (“The Tale”), Jessica Lange (several bids for “American Horror Story,” plus “Feud: Bette and Joan”), Susan Sarandon (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), and Frances McDormand (“Olive Kitteridge”).

This category tends to nominate big-name movie stars like Foster, too, such as Jessica Chastain (“George & Tammy”), Kate Winslet (“Mare of Easttown”), Elizabeth Olsen (“WandaVision”), Cate Blanchett (“Mrs. America”), and Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”).

And, if that’s not enough, Emmy voters can’t resist an Oscar winner in this category, either, such as the aforementioned Dern, Lange, Sarandon, McDormand, Chastain, Winslet, Blanchett, and Kidman as well as Octavia Spencer (“Self Made”) and Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”).

And awards groups love her. She’s a two-time Oscar winner, of course, but she’s also bagged three BAFTAs, three Golden Globes, a SAG award, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. The only major award she’s not won is an Emmy. In fact, she has never been nominated for an acting Emmy. She was nominated in 1999 for Best TV Movie as a producer on “The Baby Dance” and then was nominated for Best Comedy Director in 2014 for “Orange is the New Black.”

And it would suit this show, which has a good record with acting nominations, particularly in the lead category. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson were both nominated for Best Drama Actor for season one while Mahershala Ali picked up a Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actor bid for season three.

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