Holly Hunter's Academy Award for playing Ada, the wilfully dumb heroine of The Piano (Jane Campion, 1993), puts her in a very specialised sorority. Her sisters include Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker (Arthur Penn, 1962) and Marlee Matlin in Children of a Lesser God (Randa Haines, 1986). They have all found a rich and Oscar-winning seam in body language when their characters are denied, or deny themselves, verbal language.
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