"My mom is an amazing inspiration for me," Foster told reporters in the press room after her speech, in which she opened up about her family life with her two sons and ex-partner Cydney Bernard for the first time publicly.
"She picked me up from school and took me to see foreign films, sometimes two or three, and she wouldn't let me do my homework because she really wanted me to see movies. She passed that along to me, and I am grateful that she wanted me to be respected."
"That was her number one goal for me," Foster continued, "and I think that permeated my early career."
Foster explained that her own mom prepared her repeatedly for a career that would be fleeting, telling her it would be over at 18 and then again at 40 and asking her to consider life after acting. Fortunately, the work never evaporated.
"I am very surprised that I ended up doing the same job that I did from the time I was 3," she said. "I never thought that this is ... what I would do when I grew up, but I realize that I get to exercise so many other aspects creatively."
Which is why, Foster said, she isn't leaving acting any time soon ... even if some thought she was making a retirement announcement on stage at the Globes. But, she said, receiving the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award did cause her to reflect on changes in her life.
"Change is important. And, you know, hopefully I'll be doing different things than I did when I was three years old and six years old and 10 years old and 20 years old, and that your work evolves," Foster said. "My work is evolving."
Although her heartfelt speech confused some, Foster said it speaks for itself after more than four decades working in Hollywood as actor, writer and director. She called acting a film school for her career, saying it prepared her for directing and continuing her own cycle of self-expression – being true to herself and her "authenticity of emotions."
"It's a big, long career, and it's not just a career; it's friendships and relationships," she said. "This is the first lifetime achievement award I have ever gotten, and it does feel like a graduation."