The most human moments of Oscar night can’t be captured on a mani-cam. When a winner is announced—and a lifelong dream is realized—is when the best stuff happens. 

Roberto Benigni

Roberto Benigni, Best Foreign Language Film, “Life is Beautiful” (1999): Forgetting that he was in a tuxedo, when Sophia Loren opened the envelope and shouted, “Roberto!,” Benigni jumped up on his seat. Then he gushed the best speech ever. (We dare you not to cry.)

Halle Berry

Halle Berry, Best Actress, “Monster’s Ball” (2002): This was the year Berry became the first African-American woman to win best actress in a leading role—a distinction she still holds today. Her dress from this night is iconic, but this moment was pretty legendary.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, Original Screenplay, “Good Will Hunting” (1997): Young Matt and Ben, who brought their moms as their dates, shouted them out as “the most beautiful women here.” Need we say more?

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin, Best Actress, “Children of a Lesser God” (1987): Another “first and only” moment: Matlin was and is the only deaf artist to win for best actress. She spoke in sign language and joked that she didn’t have a speech prepared. 

Whoppi Goldberg

Whoopi Goldberg, Best Supporting Actress, “Ghost” (1991): Whoopi looked stunned (in a good way) as she told the audience she’d wanted to win an Oscar “ever since she was a little kid.” How awesome for her?

Cuba Gooding Jr

Cuba Gooding Jr., Best Supporting Actor, “Jerry Maguire” (1996): The music tried to cut him off, but he wouldn’t let it. And he got a standing ovation for it. We love everybody who was involved with that.