It's a career defining moment that will shape their future and their fortunes.
So it's little wonder that the night of an Oscar win is a blur of celebration, champagne and congratulatory hugs for most stars.
But in amongst the chaos and the clamouring, there are rare tender moments with cherished family and friends as the stars begin to contemplate that they are now among a very small elite of people who will go down in history as one of the great.
So in honour of this Sunday's ceremony, we have taken a look at the most touching candid pictures of the stars celebrating the biggest night of their lives.
Helen Mirren shares a moment with her Taylor Hackford
Won: Best actress for her role in The Queen
Jennifer Lawrence gets her Oscars polished
Won: Best actress for her role in Silver Linings Playbook
Gwyneth Paltrow embraces her dad
Won: Best actress for her role in Shakespeare in Love
Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves look happy as he gets his Oscar engraved
Won: Best actor for his role in Dallas Buyers' Club
Rachel Weisz checks out her statue
Won: Best supporting actress for her role in The Constant Gardener
Reese Witherspoon and her mum celebrate her win
Won: Best actress for her role in Walk The Line
Meryl Streep and Octavia Spencer sweet hug
Won: Best actress for her role in The Iron Lady
Kate Winslet gets a hug from Sophia Loren
Won: Best actress for her role in The Reader
Jude Dench smiles with her Oscars in hand
Won: Best actress in a supporting role in Shakespeare in Love
Jack Nicholson looking a little worse for wear at the Sony after-party
Won: Best actor in As Good As It Gets
Halle Berry looking ecstatic with then husband Eric Benet with her Oscar in hand
Won: Best actress for her role in Monster's Ball
Nicole Kidman giggles with Adrien Brody
Won: Best actress for her role in The Hours
Hilary Swank does a victory dance
Won: Best actress for Boys Don't Cry