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Filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy wins Pakistan's first Oscar

Winners of the Best Documentary Short Subject for the Pakistani film "Saving Face," Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy poses with the trophy in the press room at the 84th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday in Hollywood.

It's being called "Pakistan's Oscar," but 33-year-old filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy will be the one bringing the award home.

The Karachi native's latest film, "Saving Face," which chronicles the lives of acid attacks victims in Pakistan and the doctor working to help them, made history Sunday night at the 84th Academy Awards by winning Pakistan's first Oscar ever. The film was co-directed by American filmmaker Daniel Junge, and will air on HBO on March 8th.

Obaid-Chinoy accepted the award for Documentary Short Subject on stage and dedicated it to "all the women in Pakistan who are working for change – don't give up on your dreams."


Award for all Pakistanis
In an interview with NBC News in Karachi before leaving for the awards in Los Angeles, Obaid-Chinoy said she felt the support of the entire nation, and hoped she could make Pakistan proud by bringing home an Oscar. Some of her fans' reactions confirm she's done just that.

NBC's Pakistan chief correspondent Amna Nawaz reports on the significance of the first Academy Award nod for Pakistan, for Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy's "Saving Face."

Immediately following her win, proud Pakistanis – watching early-morning satellite feeds of the awards ceremony halfway across the world – took to the web to share their glee and congratulate their fellow countryman. For a brief moment, "Saving Face" became one of the top ten trends, worldwide, on Twitter.

"I walk a prouder #Pakistani today coz of you @sharmeenochinoy and your #Oscar win!!" tweeted @samrammuslim.

"Pakistan wins 1st #Oscar r hero @sharmeenochinoy," tweeted @asmiather.

Networks across Pakistan broadcast breaking news alerts to announce Obaid-Chinoy's win. Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani announced the nation would confer the filmmaker with the highest civilian award upon her return.

'The Artist' rules Academy Awards

In a statement released after the Oscars, Obaid-Chinoy said she was "deeply humbled and blown away by the outpouring of support and well wishes."

She also posted a Facebook message, dedicating the award "to the men in my life who have shaped the person I am today! My father & my husband I love you both!" Her husband, Fahad, and she were high school sweethearts, and are the proud parents of a daughter – Amelia – now a toddler.

Obaid-Chinoy's father died suddenly in 2008 as the filmmaker was en route to the Emmy Award ceremony in New York, to accept the award for her film investigating the Taliban's recruitment of child suicide bombers in Pakistan. She called that win, "bittersweet," but said she knew her father was watching down on her at the Oscars.

"My parents have been very supportive from the very beginning," she told NBC News. "We're five sisters and a brother. My father brought us up as sons, not as his daughters. Had my father and mother not given us that platform or those opportunities, I don't know if I would be sitting here in front of you today."

Watch the trailer for the Academy Award winning HBO documentary "Saving Face."

Dedicated to telling Pakistan’s story
While she admits she considers the Oscar to be "THE award," Obaid-Chinoy said she remains focused on the problems in her home country and the issues she hopes to highlight through her work.

"There are so many stories in this country," she told NBC News. "We have close to 40 news channels, and most of them are talking about terrorism and the impact of terrorism. If you watch that, you begin to think there's nothing else in this country."

She is currently developing a television series to air in Pakistan highlighting the efforts of "real heroes" working to bring change in their communities.

"That," she said, "is how you inspire hope."

On the Oscars' "Thank You Cam," Obaid-Chinoy, clutching her gold statue, again thanked her family for their support, but quickly turned her comments back to her hopes for her country's future.

"To everyone in Pakistan, who fights against terrorism every single day," she said, "this, is for you."

NBC's Fakhar Rehman in Islamabad contributed to this report.

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