More than three decades later — having gained two Best Actress Oscars and two more nominations, a never-ending stream of critical praise and a flawless record as a top box-office draw for her wide releases — Foster is known for playing a wide variety of lead roles in virtually every single genre, including foreign films, films she's directed, indie films, and some of the most popular movies of all time. Her Clarice Starling in The Silence of the Lambs was named the top heroine in American film by the AFI (as well as winning her her second Oscar for a lead role). Contact led to an asteroid being named in her honour, and at the 70th annual Golden Globes, she received a lifetime achievement award and publicly came out about her sexuality for the first time.
Besides her acting work, Foster has directed four films: Little Man Tate, Home for the Holidays, The Beaver and Money Monster. She also directed two episodes for Orange Is the New Black, one for House of Cards, and one for Black Mirror.
She's rumored to have a genius-level IQ, graduated magna cum laude from Yale, was the first teenage celebrity to host Saturday Night Live at age 14 (and was the youngest host until Drew Barrymore hosted in 1982 at age seven), and unintentionally inspired perhaps the most egregious example of Misaimed Fandom in the last century. Jodie Foster has given "celebrity" an... interesting definition, to say the least.
Incidentally, that last part is her own personal Berserk Button. To this day, interviewers are warned not to bring it up before talking to her, and she's been known to walk off immediately if they ignore that advice. In general, Foster is very secretive about her private life; she gave birth to two sons but has not revealed the identity of the children's father(s), and as mentioned above, took several years to come out of the closet.
- Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)
- Taxi Driver (1976)
- Bugsy Malone (1976)
- Freaky Friday (1976)
- The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane (1976)
- Candleshoe (1977)
- The Hotel New Hampshire (1984)
- The Accused (1988)
- The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
- Little Man Tate (1991)
- Sommersby (1993)
- Maverick (1994)
- Nell (1994)
- Contact (1997)
- Anna and the King (1999)
- Panic Room (2002)
- A Very Long Engagement (2004)
- Flightplan (2005)
- Inside Man (2006)
- The Brave One (2007)
- Nim's Island (2008)
- The Beaver (2011)
- Carnage (2011)
- Elysium (2013)
- Hotel Artemis (2018)
- The voice of Anne Chan in The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.
- Alethea Patricia Ingram in the Kung Fu episode "Alethea".
- The voice of Pugsley in several animated series of The Addams Family.
- The voice of the tattoo, "Betty," in The X-Files episode "Never Again."
- The voice of Maggie in a sequence of the Simpsons episode "Four Great Women and a Manicure".
- The Cast Showoff: She's perfectly fluent in French. She can speak it without American accent and demonstrates it in A Very Long Engagement, The Brave One and Stop Calling Me Baby!. When it comes time to dub her roles into French, she does it herself.
- Contractual Purity: Played With. She made several films for Disney before and after she became a star as a teen prostitute in Taxi Driver.
- Former Child Star: She is the most extreme Hollywood example of a child actor who grew well and has enjoyed a highly successful adult career.
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: Considers Nell to be her best performance. She actually thought her performance in The Accused was so bad she was prepared to quit acting over it (before she won the Oscar of course).
- Multiple Languages, Same Voice Actor: She frequently dubs herself in French.
- The Other Darrin: She opted not to reprise her role as Clarice Starling in Hannibal, so Julianne Moore replaced her.
- Real-Life Relative: Her older sister Connie was her stand-in for some of the more risque scenes in Taxi Driver.
- Remake Cameo: She was offered the role of the mother in Freaky Friday (2003) but turned it down, not wanting the Casting Gag to overshadow the movie's publicity.
- Romance on the Set: She met Cydney Bernard on Sommersby and they were in a relationship for fifteen years.
- Star-Making Role: Taxi Driver established her child career. The Silence of the Lambs established her adult career.
- Wag the Director: She changed her character in The Brave One from a television reporter to a radio host because she is an avid listener of the radio.
- What Could Have Been:
- She was cast in the Made-for-TV Movie The Best Little Girl In The World, but an actor's strike put production on hold. By the time it picked back up again, Jodie was already studying at Yale, so the role went to Jennifer Jason Leigh.
- The role of Violet in Pretty Baby was written for her. She turned it down, not wanting to be typecast as teen prostitutes. Brooke Shields was cast for the finished film.
- The Game originally had a part for her as Michael Douglas's daughter. The latter insisted that the female character be changed to his sister instead. Feeling she was too young to play his sister, Jodie withdrew from the film.
- She was considered for the part of Alex Forrest in Fatal Attraction.
- She turned down the role of Catherine Tromell in Basic Instinct, which became a Star-Making Role for Sharon Stone.
- Thelma & Louise was written with her in mind to play Thelma. Ridley Scott felt she was too young for the role, and cast Geena Davis instead.
- Princess Leia in A New Hope was originally written as a younger character, with Jodie in mind. When George Lucas decided to make the character older, Carrie Fisher was cast.
- Word of Saint Paul: She considers Silence of the Lambs to be a Spiritual Antithesis to Taxi Driver. In the latter, she's in bondage and rescued. In the former, she now rescues the young woman. What's more is that Harvey Keitel plays her pimp in Taxi Driver and later plays Clarice Starling's mentor in Red Dragon (though Jodie doesn't appear in that film).