Alexander Payne is one of the most respected and successful filmmakers in Hollywood. He is known for films like The Descendants, Sideways, and Nebraska. Born near Omaha, Nebraska, in 1949, Payne majored in journalism at Stanford University and was a Phi Delta Theta fraternity member. After graduation, he went to New York, where he worked as a paralegal with the First New York Corporation and then as an administrative assistant for ABC television.
Achievements of Alexander Payne
His love for movies soon prompted him to quit his job to become a freelance film editor. His first editing credit came in 1983 on Walter Hill’s Streets of Fire. A year later, he received his first directing credit for The Dating Game’s short film (1984). However, it wasn’t until 1996 that Payne returned to filmmaking after being offered the chance to direct Citizen Ruth, starring Laura Dern, Diane Wiest, and Jim True-Frost.
Payne’s second feature, Election (1999), was nominated for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay by the Independent Spirit Awards. Two years later, Payne won the Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay for About Schmidt (2002). His next film, Sideways (2004), starring Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen, and Thomas Haden Church, was nominated for four Oscars.
His third film of the year, The Descendants (2011), was also nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. In addition to being nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, this film received three more nominations from the Academy – Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and Virginia Madsen for Outstanding Supporting Actress.
In addition to his work as a director, Payne has also written screenplays for Sideways, About Schmidt, and Election. He wrote and directed the film About Time (2013), earning him a Best Director nomination from the Independent Spirit Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Boston Society of Film Critics.
“Alexander Payne is to filmmakers what Jeff Bridges was to actors: a person who deserves an Academy Award for” – robertdavidbeckett.