JF: Fun. Apparently [the show's producers] called [my friend] Paula, who used to be my agent, and said, "We want Jane to present the special award." Paula called me right after the separation was announced. I was still in the crying stage, and she said, "You better do the Academy Awards." And I said, "I can't do that! People will resent it. I'm not in the business anymore. It looks like I'm trying to hog the limelight." And she plain bullied me into saying okay. About 15 years ago, I had hosted with Robin Williams and Alan Alda, and I wore this fabulous dress. I said to Paula, "I've got just the dress!" And she said, "You're not gonna wear a dress that you've worn before! Are you kidding? Ask Vera Wang." And Vera made my dress!
I raise money every year for [charity], I auction everything but my underwear, and [after the Oscars] I thought, I'll auction the dress! That got into the papers, and then I got to liking the dress. So I got a second round of publicity saying I'm not going to sell the dress, I'm going to wear it for a year and then sell it!
O: Did you feel sexy when you walked out onstage?
JF: I owned the stage. I was inside my body. I was a little worried when I had to turn, I had on heels that were about four inches high. I was curious about how I would feel being back [in Hollywood]. I felt welcomed. I went to the parties, and I sat there thinking, Everybody is so nice, and I'm so glad I don't live here! I've done it already. And I wouldn't go back there if you paid me.
O: Even if they paid you a lot?
JF: A lot. Because at my core, I'm an activist. And California is so big, and the problems are so vast, that you can never feel you have an impact. Here, I can matter.
O: Who are you now, Jane?
JF: Who am I? I'm a survivor. I'm a woman with tremendous inner resources and resilience. I care about people. I believe in "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you," and I live by that. I am becoming authentic, and that's important to me. I have surpassed both my parents in terms of emotional stability, happiness and well-being. And I'm a lucky woman. I've deserved my luck.
O: Do you believe you created your luck?
JF: No. I think that, like most of us, I was born with an innate goodness. And I believe that God has seen that in me and has protected me through times when I should have died so I could fulfill my potential and do his work.
O: The Bible says, "Many are called, but few are chosen." Do you believe you're called?
JF: I believe I'm called.
O: And what is your calling?
JF: To provide opportunities for people who don't have the opportunities they should.
O: Is there anything that scares you, Jane?
O: Not even death itself?
JF: Not at all. I feel so full. I just feel good. I'm 62, and I'm finding my voice. I mean, if that's not fabulous.
O: That is!
JF: Ted said, "People your age aren't supposed to change!" I said, "Oh?" I can't tell you what living in Atlanta means to me. I can't tell you what having the opportunity to hang out with my girlfriends means to me. I feel like the world is before me.