Former Devizes School pupil Steve Summersgill has gone from selling popcorn at the Palace Cinema to being part of an Oscar- winning team.

Mr Summersgill, 36, was art director on The Grand Budapest Hotel which took the Oscar for best production design at the star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday night.

But instead of drinking champagne and rubbing shoulders with stars such as Eddie Redmayne and Keira Knightley, Mr Summersgill was asleep in bed in the spare room of his mum’s house in Devizes.

He said: “I had an invitation to be at the Oscars, but I had just flown back from Cape Town and I had to be in Germany for Monday and couldn’t face another long flight.

“I had planned to stay up and watch the awards on TV with my family, but I was just too tired.

I heard the news early the next morning from my mum. My phone also started to go crazy with messages.

“My initial reaction was that I wished that I had stayed up to watch my colleagues receive the award. Then I had a celebratory coffee.

“Adam Stockhausen, the production designer who collected the award, did a great speech on behalf of the whole creative team. It is a real honour to have won.”

Mr Summersgill, who now splits his time between Berlin and London, said he spent five months on set in Germany close to the Polish border and was able to get to know one of his heroes, actor Bill Murray.

He said: “Bill was in Ghostbusters when I was a boy and made a big impression on me so it was great to meet him. He was very friendly and open. You’re around all of the cast but some are more aloof than others.

“Ralph Fiennes was a gentleman as you’d expect.”

Mr Summersgill, who has also worked on The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, did all of the 1930s sets for the film which also took Oscars for best original score, best costume design and best make-up and hairstyling. He is now working on two other major projects including Captain America and Ghost In The Shell.

Mr Summersgill left Devizes School in 1997 and went to Trowbridge College before gaining a place at Nottingham Trent University to study theatre design.

Former lecturer Rob Hemmings was delighted to hear of his Oscar success.

Mr Hemmings, currently lecturer in 3D at the Trowbridge College, watched the film admiringly last year, not knowing that a former student had played such a major part in the movie.

He said: “It’s great for Steve, and brilliant news for us to have a former student involved in such a major production. It’s not just any old film, it’s The Grand Budapest Hotel – it’s visually stunning. I was a big fan from the moment I first saw it last year, projected outdoor on a warm evening, Cinema Paradiso-style, it was magical.”

“It’s good to see one of our former students reaching the top of their field, in fact we have quite a few students going in a similar direction, working for the BBC and various theatre companies. We’ve had a lot of students going on to achieve success from all areas of the programme - fine art, 3D, graphics, textiles and fashion and it’s really exciting for us here.”

His big break came after he graduated in 2001 and went interrailing through Europe.

He said: “A tutor at university had mentioned the Barrandov film studios in Prague and suggested I take my portfolio along.

“After a few days in Prague I decided to go cold calling. Looking back now I was very bold. I had no idea what was involved in film making or art direction but I was intrigued and had nothing to lose.”

He blagged it on to the set of the film From Hell and knew it was the job for him.

He said: “I saw my first backlot set and that was really when I knew I wanted to design film sets. I managed to get a job as a junior model maker, said goodbye to my friends and stayed in Prague for three years climbing the ladder.”

His love of film started early. While at school he was an usher at The Palace Cinema in Market Place.

He said: “It’s funny to remember my time at Devizes cinema. I’ve always enjoyed cinema but when I was selling popcorn for a Saturday matinee I could only have dreamed of being associated with such a prestigious award.”

He often returns to Devizes to spend time with his mum Maggie and two younger brothers Lee, 33, and Adam, 29.

His mum, who runs a dog grooming business, said: “I’m just so proud of him. He works incredibly hard and is very modest.”