From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Strawberry seeds and celebrity interviews are not an ideal combination, but Amy Adams isn't worried about that just now. Happily offering to share a plate of berries a few hours before the Toronto press conference for her film The Master, the actress and mother of 2-year-old daughter Aviana is warmly reassuring when it comes to potential dental embarrassments. "Please!" she says. "I'm a mom. The things I deal with on a daily basis, the body things... she's still in diapers, so I'm not bothered by seeds in someone's teeth."

Of course, the 38-year-old actress's own red-carpet smile is always flawless-and this fall it is getting a serious workout: In The Master Adams is the unyielding wife of a charismatic cult leader, and in Trouble with the Curve, she plays the ambitious daughter of an aging baseball scout (played by Clint Eastwood). "It's almost too much to take in," says the three-time Oscar nominee, who is scoring buzz again this year for her Master role. "She is a true, true pro," says Curve director Robert Lorenz. "She disappears into every role she's done." Still, Adams admits to nerves when it came to squaring off with Eastwood. "It was hard because there were times when I had to be really disrespectful in a way that a daughter would be," she says, "and it's Clint Eastwood!"

Since her starmaking turn in the 2005 film Junebug, Adams has steadily been earning her own place among Hollywood's heavyweights, charming audiences in films that showcase her theater-honed voice (Enchanted, The Muppets) and going toe-to-toe with Meryl Streep not once but twice (Doubt, Julie & Julia). As her career has blossomed, so too has her personal life. Two years after getting engaged to actor Darren Le Gallo, 38, Adams gave birth to their "super-aware, cool" daughter in 2010. "It's been a drastic change," says Adams, who was born in Italy and raised stateside, wherever her father was stationed with the U.S. Army. "I love my work, but I'm becoming more successful at leaving it behind when I'm home so my daughter feels that I belong to her, not to the world."

These days that means imposing an "Internet ban" so she can spend more time focusing on the important stuff: toilet training ("She memorized [Once upon a Potty]-it's really funny!") and giggling with her budding fashionista. "She saw a sequined dress and was like, 'Avi wear that,'" says Adams. "I'm afraid to let her watch Toddlers & Tiaras!" She's also hoping to find time to plan her nuptials. "Weddings are not a good value, and I like a good value," she says. Still, "I'd be disappointed if I didn't have one."

Eventually, anyway. For now there are movies to promote, including next summer's Superman flick Man of Steel, in which she plays Lois Lane. And when she finally has some down time, she can kick back with-that's right-housework. "It's been years of accumulating odds and ends on location, shipping them back and leaving again," she says with a sigh. "There's a lot of organizing that needs to happen! That's my vacation."

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  • With reporting by Reagan Alexander.