The Piano is a 1993 drama film about a mute female piano player and her daughter. Set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier backwater on the west coast of New Zealand, it revolves around the piano player's passion for playing the piano and her efforts to regain her piano after it is sold. The Piano was written and directed by Jane Campion, and stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, and Anna Paquin, in her first acting role. The film's score for the piano by Michael Nyman became a best-selling soundtrack album, and Hunter played her own piano pieces for the film. She also served as sign language teacher for Paquin, earning three screen credits. The film is an international co-production by Australian producer Jan Chapman with the French company Ciby 2000.
The Piano was a success both critically and commercially, grossing $140 million worldwide against its $7 million budget. Hunter and Paquin both received high praise for their respective roles as Ada McGrath and Flora McGrath. In 1993 the film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Subsequently in March 1994, The Piano won 3 Academy Awards out of 8 total nominations: Best Actress for Hunter, Best Supporting Actress for Paquin, and Best Original Screenplay for Campion. Paquin, who at the time was 11 years old, is the second youngest Oscar winner ever in a competitive category, after Tatum O'Neal, who also won the Best Supporting Actress award in 1974 for Paper Moon, at 10.