JODIE FOSTER, WHO EARNED HER FIRST Oscar nomination at 14, knows a thing or two about gifted children. In her new film, Little Man Tate, which is about the life of a child prodigy (see page 19), the actress says she saw the film's hero as a young boy who "must, by definition, be lonely" and would be "all by himself with people throwing tomatoes at him."

At the film's New York City premiere on Oct. 3, though, the only thing lobbed was praise—for Foster, now 28, in her directorial debut. "She just never makes a false move," marveled Peter Boyle during a post-show party at Maxim's. Even Adam Hann-Byrd, making his acting bow at 9 in the title role, saw little to fear. "I thought I was good," said Adam.