Emotions Pour From Oscar Winners

Helen Mirren said it "was almost as good" as her wedding night.

Not quite, but almost!

Winning an Academy Award can do that to people, bringing out raw emotion, as The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith witnessed firsthand, from acceptance speeches and at the Governors Ball.

After a long awards season in which Mirren seemed to win every accolade there is, she finally snagged the big one, taking home the Oscar for best actress for her role in "The Queen."

"You can't describe that moment, really," she told Smith. "It's sort of disbelief, but, uhhhh, it's indescribable. It's absolutely indescribable."

Forest Whitaker walked off with the best actor statuette for "The Last King of Scotland."

After being criticized for his speeches in the past, Whitaker spoke from the heart and gave the night's most passionate acceptance, saying, "It is possible for a kid from east Texas, raised in south central L.A., and Carson, who believes in his dreams, commits himself to them with his heart, to touch them, and to have them happen."

To go backstage at the Oscars via photos, click here.
Later, he explained to Smith what was going through his head: "This is really important. I started to think, 'Yeah, hopefully, something like this could happen for me, but what can I give other people, because the other people in their dreams and their hopes and stuff … ' That's what structured the speech, 'cause I was thinking I need to give something to other people, not just take things for myself."

"As I was listening," Smith told Whitaker, "my heart was pounding, because I could see there was so much passion pouring out of you, and the camera cut away to your wife, and the tears were just streaming down her face."

"She had tears?" Whitaker asked. "She's so supportive."

He then kissed Keisha Whitaker, who admitted to Smith, "I was like, 'I'm not gonna cry. I'm not going to cry. Oh, my God, I'm crying in front of a billion people!' "

"Crying's good," Whitaker reassured her.

Jennifer Hudson, who won for best supporting actress, was also crying tears of joy during her speech.

"I was literally just struck by so many emotions, just shock," she told Smith at the ball. "I was totally in shock, like, 'Uh? Oh, my God, they just called my name. I did? I won?' Instantly, I got emotional and started to tear up."

She tearfully thanked her late grandmother during her acceptance speech, and Smith asked Hudson what she'd say to her if she could.

"You know," Hudson responded, "I hope that you're proud, and I feel like I have a gift, and that's why I always want to sing things with meaning and purpose, because that's what she would have done. And I know she's up in heaven smiling down, shouting, having a praise party up there, and I just hope she's proud!"

After her acceptance speech, Hudson belted out a musical number with fellow "Dreamgirls" cast members.

She recalled having to perform after losing in "American Idol," and said there's no comparison!

"I must say it's better than being eliminated from 'American Idol' then having to stay on the stage and sing!" Hudson laughed. " … To win and have to perform, that's the victory, and I got to celebrate what I love to do, and this is how I got this."

She told Smith, "There are really no words to express" how it feels to hold her statuette, "and I don't even wanna try, 'cause I get frustrated every time. So the only way I can express how much this means to me is through my work as an actress, and to continue to just remember this and uphold it and try and carry on the Academy legacy through any performance I do as an actress."

Hudson heads into the studio next month to record her first album.