February 22, 2010

Film Based on Novel by Jay Parini ’70 Nominated for Two Academy Awards

Helen Mirren is up for best actress and Christopher Plummer for best supporting actor for their roles in The Last Station

Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer have been nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in The Last Station, a 2009 film adapted from the novel of the same name by Jay Parini ’70.

Published in 1990, Parini’s book explores 19th-century Russian writer and philosopher Leo Tolstoy’s troubled marriage, marked by the conflict between his desire to live a simple life and his wife’s insistence on luxury. It has been reissued in more than 30 languages.

The film stars Plummer as Tolstoy and Mirren as his wife Countess Sofya, as well as James McAvoy and Paul Giamatti. Michael Hoffman (The Emperor’s Club, A Midsummer Night’s Dream) directed and wrote the screenplay. Parini played a significant advisory role, spending time on the set in Germany and assisting Hoffman with editing in London.

The results of the awards, best actress for Mirren and best supporting actor for Plummer, will be announced during the annual Oscars ceremony March 7.

Parini is the author or editor of more than 40 books including poetry, fiction, criticism, and major biographies of John Steinbeck, Robert Frost, and William Faulkner. He was cofounder of the New England Review and serves as literary executor for Gore Vidal.

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