THE LAST STATION, the highly anticipated feature film by Michael Hoffman opening nationally on April 1 - starring Helen Mirren, Christopher Plummer, James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti, Kerry Condon and Anne-Marie Duff, picked up two Academy Award nominations this morning just after midnight Australian time:
· Best Actress in A Leading Role (Helen Mirren)
· Best Actor in A Supporting Role (Christopher Plummer)
As Sofya, Helen Mirren portrays the wife of Leo Tolstoy, a woman locked in a battle with her husband's admirers during the final year of his life, over the disposition of his royalties. Mirren herself comes from a family with a deep Russian heritage, as she was the daughter of an educated, socialist Russian father and her paternal grandfather was a Russian nobleman, tsarist colonel and diplomat.
This is the fourth Academy Award nomination for Mirren - she was previously nominated for: The Queen (2006) - Winner, Actress in a Leading Role; Gosford Park (2001) - Nominee, Actress in a Supporting Role; The Madness of King George (1994) - Nominee, Actress in a Supporting Role.
Christopher Plummer portrays Tolstoy, the great Russian writer who finds himself torn in his final years between his wife and his devoted admirers. Surprisingly, this is the first Academy Award nomination for veteran actor, Plummer who is arguably one of the finest actors of the post War War II period to have never been previously nominated. Now, after a career spanning nearly 5 decades, Plummer has finally been recognised by the Academy.
Both Mirren and Plummer were also previously nominated for Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards for their performances in THE LAST STATION, which have been universally heralded by critics globally as two of the most memorable and powerful performances of the past year.
This year marks the 100 year anniversary of the passing of Tolstoy. For more information and to find out more about one of modern history's most influential men, visit: www.Tolstoycentennial.com Helen Mirren The Last Station Interviewwww.femail.com.au/helen-mirren-the-last-station-interview.htm
THE LAST STATION is a love story set during the last year of the life and turbulent marriage of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) and his wife the Countess Sofya (Helen Mirren).
Tolstoy, having rejected his title and embraced an ascetic life style, finds himself increasingly at odds with Sofya. As his devoted disciple Vladimir Chertkov (Paul Giamatti) urges him to sign a new will leaving the rights to his work to the Russian people rather than his family, the conflict between husband and wife grows to breaking point. The whole affair is witnessed by Tolstoy's new secretary, Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy), whose burgeoning love for the beautiful and feisty Masha (Kerry Condon) is set against the waning love of Tolstoy and Sofya.
A man at war within and without, Tolstoy, in his final days, makes a run for peace on a train with his physician, his daughter and Bulgakov. Sofya and Chertkov follow, but, too ill to continue, Tolstoy stops at the tiny railway station at Astapovo. While hundreds camp outside awaiting hourly reports, it is here, at a remote railway junction, that Leo Tolstoy finds the peace he has been searching for.
Based on the 1990 biographical novel of the same name by Jay Parini.
A tale of two romances, one beginning, one near its end, THE LAST STATION is a complex, funny, rich and emotional story about the difficulty of living with love and the impossibility of living without it.
THE LAST STATION opens nationally on April 1
Watch the trailer at:www.thelaststationmovie.com.au
THE LAST STATION is distributed in Australia by The Becker Film Group.
What the NY and LA critics are saying:
"This is the year's best female performance"
"Helen Mirren outdoes even her Oscar-winning performance in "The Queen" with her tour de force as Countess Sofya Tolstoy in Michael Hoffman's delightful The Last Station... But that's a small bump on the road to a wintry Russian railroad depot where the final battle for the soul of Leo Tolstoy plays out. It's there that Mirren confirms that this is the year's best female performance."
Lou Lumenick, New York Post
"James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, and Christopher Plummer offer a grand display of acting fireworks in The Last Station, writer-director Michael Hoffman's juicy account of the fraught final year of Count Leo Tolstoy's life."
David Ansen, Newsweek
"This film has so much to savor and applaud that I scarcely know where to begin."
"Do not wait. Experience the adrenalin rush early. This movie is passionate, profound and unforgettable"
"Let the drums roll. The arrival of a movie with as much intelligence and artistry as The Last Station should also be accompanied by the sound of trumpets. For the legions of movie lovers who lament the passing of great filmmaking, don't give up yet. This one is for you."
"Written and directed with skill, sensitivity and humor by Michael Hoffman, it is as entertaining as it is literate. I find it rapturous and perfect."
"Ms. Mirren, who is half-Russian herself, plays the flamboyant Sofya with fire and ice, igniting the screen with warmth, poise, ecstasy and intoxicating intensity. Amid the waxed mustaches and astrakhan hats, Mr. Plummer is magnetic as Tolstoy-stooped, bearded and snowy as the landscape. His memorable death scene, on the level of King Lear, is the apogee of what great acting aspires to be"
Rex Reed, The New York Observer
"Every second Helen Mirren is on-screen in The Last Station is a study in peerless talent"
Claudia Puig, USA Today
"It's the most emotionally naked work of Mirren's movie career; she gives poetic form to the madness and the violence of commonplace jealousy"
David Denby, New Yorker