Filming the recent thriller Panic Room
during her second pregnancy, Jodie Foster did most of her own stunts—except "all the strangling and stuff," she says. But as a presenter on Oscar night, she was no match for beads and heels. "The dress was so beautiful, but the little things on the dress came off, so you can't really sit, and the shoes are cutting into you," she admits. "After my category I went home, took off my dress and watched it on TV." Red-carpet duties aside, Foster, 39, insists her career has never hinged on her appearance. "I didn't want to be the beautiful girlfriend or the ingenue," says the two-time Oscar winner (The Silence of the Lambs
and The Accused
). Still, there's no denying her allure. Says Andy Tennant, her director in 1999's Anna and the King
: "You don't understand star wattage until you're staring at her when she's all dolled up on-set. It's almost paralyzing." Not so off-set, at home in Los Angeles, where sons Charlie, 3, and Kit, 8 months, keep the 5'3" Foster in perpetual motion. In an effort to squeeze in more formal workouts, Foster explains that most days she sports workout wear "in anticipation of that 20 minutes where I might be able to move my butt."