Jodie Foster won her first Academy Award for playing a victim whose misfortune awakens a remarkable sense of empowerment in The Accused. In a sense, her second Oscar-winning role, in The Silence of the Lambs, could be described the same way. Now, with her latest project, Neil Jordan's The Brave One, Foster is taking vengeance to the extreme. As a radio host who goes on a gun-driven rampage after being near-fatally beaten in New York's Central Park, Foster is at her fiercest, handling the film's physical sequences and quieter scenes with equal skill. ''This was just an amazing character to develop...to start from the beginning and say, ' What makes her tick?''' says the actress. The thriller is not typical Oscar bait, but if there's any actress who can elevate a genre film to something special, it's Foster.