GIVE THE MAN ANOTHER STATUE—for the most exuberant Oscar acceptance speech in recent memory. "People always tell me, 'You have such a calm spirit about you,' " says Cuba Gooding Jr., 29, who leaped across the stage to collect his Best Supporting Actor award for Jerry Maguire.
"I think that's kind of cool because I'm such a hyper guy." Gooding first drew acclaim as an earnest ghetto youth in 1991's Boyz N the Hood.
To play Maguire's
flamboyantly funny, quotable (you know the line) football player, the 5'10" former high school jock packed on muscle in his garage gym adjacent to the Studio City, Calif., home he shares with wife Sara and sons Spencer, 2, and Mason, 6 months. Good thing, since the film's locker-room scenes highlight more than just his sense of humor. "When I walked into the reading," recalls Regina King, who played Gooding's wife, "I saw Cuba and said, 'Omi-god! Look at you. You're gorgeous, you're sexy!'" And, she adds, "so supercharming that if he has a vain bone in his body, he does a very good job of camouflaging it." That's called acting. "Every morning it takes me hours to get ready," says Gooding, who believes in all-over moisturizer and weekly ice hockey games with pals. "The first time I saw myself naked in a school locker room, I was like, 'Wow.' After that, everything had to be trimmed, oiled and together."