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Newly minted Oscar victor Rachel Shenton gave part of her speech Sunday night in sign language - a shout-out to her film "The Silent Child". The film focuses on a deaf four-year-old girl named Libby, played by deaf actress Maisie Sly, from Swindon.

Jane Fonda signed part of her speech as she accepted the best actress award for Coming Home in 1979, as did Louise Fletcher who signed to her deaf parents when she won best actress for One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest three years earlier. "My hands are shaking so I apologize".

Rachel who is probably best-known for playing Mitzeee Minniver in "Hollyoaks" from 2010 to 2013, continued: "We'd love to extend this story, either a feature film or longer drama". This is happening, millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers. In 1987, Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, delivered her acceptance speech using gestures on winning Academy Award for Best Actress for "Children Of A Lesser God".

She has been a long-time ambassador for the National Deaf Children's Society in the United Kingdom, completing a skydive and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the charity in the past.

She was among those who congratulated Rachel on her win, tweeting: "YAYAYAY!" She lives a silent life until a social worker, played by Shenton, teaches her how to communicate through sign language.

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"But I think she's taken it all in her stride".

As Shenton comments, deafness is an invisible and non-life-threatening disability; consequently, it is often overlooked, leaving many children isolated from the rest of the world.

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".

He told BBC Breakfast they raised "over £1,000 in cupcakes".

The pair cast Maisie, who had never acted before, after a nationwide search involved advertising on the websites of deaf organisations.


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