Born to a family of celebrated painters and poets, Muscovite Nikita Mikhalkov is the younger brother of director Andrei Konchalovsky. An actor in theater and films since the age of 16 (including his brother's Dvoryanskoye Gnezdo and Siberiade), Mikhalkov also studied cinema at Moscow's State Film School in the 1960s. He debuted as a director in 1970 with his diploma film A Quiet Day At The End Of The War. He then returned to acting for a few years, finally unveiling his first full-length feature, Svoy Sredi Chuzhikh, Chuzhoy Sredi Svoikh, in 1973. An avowed idolater of playwright Anton Chekhov, Mikhalkov adapted Chekhov's very first play, Platonov, into the autumnal dramatic film An Unfinished Piece for Mechanical Piano (1977). Mikhalkov won several awards for this effort, and would do so again for his subsequent films Oblomov (1980) and the Italian-produced Oci Ciornie (Dark Eyes, 1987). In 1995, a breathless Mikhalkov, in the company of his beaming young daughter, accepted the Best Foreign Picture Oscar for his Burnt by the Sun (1994).