Midland filmmakers in Oscar win for The Silent Child
It was a script which could have come straight out of movie - as two soap stars took on Hollywood and won.
Midlands-based director Chris Overton and his screenwriter fiancee Rachel Shenton could hardly believe their Oscar triumph.
The couple stood with the Hollywood heavyweights with their film financed, thanks to their parents raising cash by making and selling cupcakes.
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Yet with Hollywood icons Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman in the audience, the couple took to the stage after scooping their gongs against the odds.
The couple won the best live action short film Oscar for The Silent Child at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.
Ahead of the ceremony the couple had stepped out on the red carpet with the film's young star Maisie Sly, aged six, who is deaf.
In his acceptance speech, Chris, from Heath Hayes, near Cannock, thanked his fiancée saying: 'It's really your hard work for the last 12 years that has really made this project authentic."
The former Hollyoaks stars, best known for playing Mitzeee Minniver and Liam McAllister in the Channel 4 show, fended off competition from short films DeKalb Elementary, The Eleven O'Clock, My Nephew Emmett, Watu Wote/All Of Us at the glittering ceremony.
Collecting the prize, Rachel delivered her speech in sign language, earning praise from the audience packed with A-list stars and tens of millions of people watching on tv across the world.
The screen star, from Caverswall, near Stoke, said: "I made a promise to our six-year-old lead actress that I'd sign this speech. My hands are shaking so I apologise."
She added: "Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence.
"It's not exaggerated or sensationalised for the movie, this is happening, millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers and particularly access to education.
"Deafness is a silent disability, I want to say the biggest of thank yous to the Academy for allowing us to put this in front of a mainstream audience."
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