From Oscars waitress to awards nominee

Lesley Paterson and All Quiet on the Western Front have both been to the Oscars before.

A Universal Pictures version made in 1930, a year after the anti-war novel was first published, won five awards that year including Best Screenplay.

Lesley's part in an earlier ceremony was a lot less glamorous.

"I actually waited tables 18 years ago," she recalls.

"It was all very exciting at the time. I remember having to go through all the security checks, then wondering who I would get on my table. I had Judi Dench and Jennifer Lopez. I remember it being very overwhelming so goodness knows what it will be like on Sunday."

On Sunday both Lesley and the new film version of All Quiet on the Western Front will be at the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The German language film, made by Netlfix, has been nominated in nine categories including Best Adapted Screenplay.

The original draft was written 16 years ago, when Lesley and her husband first moved to California.

All Quiet on the Western Front image
Lesley pitched the film in 2020 as a German language project

The book - written by Erich Maria Remarque - had always been a favourite at school in Stirling, and she and her then co-writer Ian Stokell thought it was ripe for a big screen remake.

But it wasn't an easy sell. Years of rejection meant she had to use her winnings as a champion triathlete and re-mortgage her home to keep the project alive.

Eventually, in 2020, a conversation at a film trade fair in Berlin brought them into partnership with a German team led by director Edward Bergen. His main experience was in television, and their lead actor Felix Kammerer had never appeared in a film before, but Netflix commissioned the film and production got under way.

The film was the biggest winner at this year's Baftas, taking home seven Baftas, including Best Adapted Screenplay.

Director Edward Bergen was first to speak, and although Lesley gave her thanks, the moment was edited for TV coverage.

She's not convinced that the Oscars will offer another chance.

"It's so tough because you only get 45 seconds and there are three of us and we've been notified on a number of occasions that only one of us is allowed to speak and so obviously our director and co-writer Edward Berger will be the guy to speak," she says.

"So the answer is, I really don't know. I'd love to say a couple of sentences but we'll just have to see how it pans out, if we should be so lucky."

Lesley celebrates winning the World Triathlon Alabama Elite Women's race in Alabama in May 2012
Lesley has another career she can be proud of - as a world champion triathlete.

Among those sending goodwill wishes for Sunday are children from the two schools Lesley once attended in Stirling - Allan's Primary and Stirling High. She's already promised primary school pupils she'll take part in a post Oscar assembly about her experience.

"It's been so wonderful to hear the support and feel like I'm inspiring people to follow their dreams. I've had a lot of emails and messages saying I was going to give up on this screenplay or this endeavour and you've given me some motivation to keep going . To to feel like you're having an impact - what an honour - that's all you can wish as a storyteller."

She and her husband Simon Marshall, a sports psychologist, and an uncredited writer on the screenplay, have now set up their own production company and hope to make a film in Scotland at the end of the year.

" I'm really excited about that one," she says.

"It's a psychological thriller, set in the highlands of Scotland. It's very intense and moody and deals with mental health issues but lots of action in there too. I'm really proud of the script, it has a great director and a wonderful production team, and we've applied for all sorts of funding like BFI and Creative Scotland.

"We've got some equity and hope to get some more. The goal is to shoot in October, November time so it will be lovely to come home and do that and get local crew, local cast and really support the industry in Scotland."

On the eve of the ceremony, the burning question for most of Hollywood is what to wear, and Lesley admits she was late for our interview because she was having a dress fitting.

"I was and it's very bizarre being a wee lassie who likes to be out in the mountains in trainers and mud to be there with couture designers that have flown out from London just to dress me for the Oscars. It's all very surreal."

And her only hint?

"It's definitely going to be bright and bold and I'm going to be showing a little bit of leg, but that's all I'm going to reveal."