Her breakthrough role came in Martin Scorsese's gritty Taxi Driver, in which she played a 12-year-old prostitute and for which she won many industry accolades. She also attended Yale University, where she graduated magna cum laude in 1985.
More than a decade later, she proved she was in the business for the long haul by nabbing a Best Actress Oscar for her role in 1988's The Accused. In 1991, she won the same award again, this time for her portrayal of FBI agent Clarisse Starling in The Silence of the Lambs. She's also starred in Little Man Tate (1991), Nell (1994), Contact (1997) and Panic Room (2002).