Alexander has followed his passion for film making and become one of the greatest American film directors. Having directed, co-written and produced movies that have won multiple awards and nominations over the past 17 years, he’s grown into a fantastic director with a body of work that includes films like Sideways, About Schmidt and Nebraska.
The 60-year-old Nebraska native got his start in the world of filmmaking in the 1980s when he was 19 years old. He attended film school at University of Nebraska-Omaha and began making films, landing his first big screen credit with Goin’ South in 1985. He began writing screenplays, directing and producing around the same time, putting out several shorts including Short Life of a Superhero, The Corporation and A Really Funny Idea.
Despite being a prolific author (his screenplays include some of the most successful movies of the past twenty-five years), Alexander Payne has chosen the restaurant/café owners’ route for his career – open small businesses and treat customers as old friends. He first established himself in New York with the critically-acclaimed comedy-drama “Election,” (1988) which he wrote and directed.
Alexander Payne went on to direct a series of successful films, including “About Schmidt” (2002), “About Felon” (2005) and “The Descendants” (2011). His latest effort, “Nebraska”, is set in the ‘Rust Belt’ of the US. Originally from Nebraska, Payne is known for directing the films Sideways, Election and the documentary At Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil. He has also directed TV shows such as Entertainment Tonight, 30 Rock and W, and was nominated twice for an Oscar, for his movies Sideways and Nebraska.
During an interview with NPR he credited his “rebellious spirit” to growing up in the Midwest. Payne, who is married and has a son, has kept his family life private since moving to New Mexico in 2002. Payne is a film-maker who has won two Academy Awards. His first was for 1989’s Topaz, starring Anthony Hopkins and Glenn Close, about a European refugee. His second was for 2010’s The Descendants, starring George Clooney and the late Alan Rickman.