But it was Williams's year. Nominated previously for Good Morning, Vietnam (in 1987, a role for which he did win a Golden Globe), Dead Poets Society (in 1989, arguably his other greatest role) and The Fisher King (1991), the actor gave a nuanced portrayal of psychotherapist Sean Maguire in Good Will Hunting that now seems like the obvious choice for the award.
His speech was pure Robin: He noted that he "still want[ed] to see some I.D." for the film's fresh-faced screenwriters – Matt Damon and Ben Affleck – and tossed in some characteristic irreverence, thanking the "Mishpucha Weinstein." (A Yiddish term for "family.")
Below, from Hunting: Sean's speech to Will. "You don't know about real loss, because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself."
For more on Robin Williams's tragic death and his legacy of comic genius, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
The Williams family is asking well-wishers to send contributions to charities close to the actor's heart in lieu of flowers. Suggested organizations include St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Challenged Athletes, USO, the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco.