Payne in Karlovy Vary, 2005
|Born||Constantine Alexander Payne
February 10, 1961
Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Sandra Oh (2003–2006; divorced)|
Alexander Payne (born Constantine Alexander Payne; February 10, 1961) is an American film director and screenwriter, known for the films Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004) and The Descendants (2011). His films are noted for their dark humor and satirical depictions of contemporary American society.
Early life 
Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Peggy (née Constantine) and George Payne, restaurant owners. He is of Greek descent (his grandfather anglicized the last name from Papadopoulos). He was the youngest of three sons and grew up in the same neighborhood as billionaire Warren Buffett. Payne attended Creighton Preparatory School high school and later Stanford University, where he double majored in Spanish and History. As a part of his Spanish degree, he studied at the University of Salamanca (Spain) and later he lived a few months in Medellin (Colombia) where he publish an article about the development and the social changes between 1900 and 1930. Payne got his MFA in 1990 from the UCLA Film School.
Payne worked in various capacities on films and television before he wrote and directed his first full-length film, Citizen Ruth, in 1996. His film Election, starring Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon, which takes aim at politics and education in America, attracted attention when New Yorker film critic David Denby named it the best film of 1999. Payne was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Adapted Screenplay for Election. In 2000 he did an uncredited polish-up of the screenplay for the comedy hit Meet the Parents. In 2001 Payne wrote a draft of Jurassic Park III. In 2003 he received a Golden Globe for his screenplay for About Schmidt, which was also nominated for a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay. To the surprise of many who kept track of Hollywood news, Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor were not nominated for an Oscar for the About Schmidt screenplay. He won both the Academy Award and Golden Globe in 2005 for Best Screenplay for Sideways while the film also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. In total, Sideways received five Academy Award Nominations. Payne served as an executive producer on the films King of California and The Savages. He also teamed up once again with writing partner Jim Taylor to write a draft of the screenplay for the film I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, a comedy directed by Dennis Dugan starring Adam Sandler and Kevin James. Payne disliked the final product, stating that Adam Sandler rewrote so much of the story that almost all of what Payne and Taylor wrote was gone. Payne returned to directing in 2011 after a seven year hiatus with the film The Descendants, starring George Clooney. He also co-wrote the screenplay, winning the Oscar for adapted screenplay. Payne's next project entitled Nebraska will star SNL comedian Will Forte and veteran character actor Bruce Dern. Producer Albert Berger has stated that the film will be released in late 2013.
Payne's films often revolve around adultery in marriage and relationships. He also tends to set his films in Omaha. He has scenes of historical landmarks and museums in his films, and tends to use non-actors for minor roles (real cops play cops, real teachers play teachers, etc.). He frequently incorporates telephone monologues as a dramatic device. He also tends to cast actor Phil Reeves in his films. He is on the short list of directors who have final cut rights for their films. In 2005, he became a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Directors Branch). His writing partner is Jim Taylor.
In 2012 he was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. His upcoming film Nebraska has been selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
Personal life 
Payne married Korean-Canadian actress Sandra Oh on January 1, 2003, after dating her for three years, and directing her in Sideways. On March 12, 2005, a publicist announced their separation. The divorce was officially finalized on December 22, 2006, although the former couple took more than two years to settle their finances.
Payne is on the Board of Directors of an Omaha non-profit film theater, Film Streams. He maintains a passion for preservation. In recent years, he helped preserve a historic film theater in Scottsbluff, Nebraska.
Feature films 
- Nebraska (2013)
- The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004)
- King of California (2007)
- The Savages (2007)
- Cedar Rapids (2011)
- The Descendants (2011)
Short films 
- Carmen (1985)
- Paris, je t'aime (segment 14th arrondissement) Also appeared as Oscar Wilde in the segment entitled "Père-Lachaise"
Student films 
- The Passion of Martin (1991)
- The Coffee Table, Coffee Table Book with James Zemaitis (a Coffee table book)
- The Sideways Guide to Wine and Life with Jim Taylor and illustrated by Rex Pickett
- "Entertainment | Sideways director keeps it real". BBC News. 2005-01-25. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- 'The Descendants' debuts in Omaha
- Steven Mikulan (1999-04-21). "High Plains Joker - Page 1 - Film+TV - Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- Constantine Alexander Payne, Crecimiento y cambio social en Medellín: 1900 – 1930, Estudios sociales. Vol. I, N° 1. Medellín, septiembre 1986, pp. 111 – 194.
- Chitwood, Adam. "Alexander Payne’s NEBRASKA Moving Forward with Will Forte and Bruce Dern". Collider. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- Han, Angie. "Alexander Payne’s ‘Nebraska’ Eyeing Late 2013 Release; Will Forte and Bruce Dern Run Around Billings, MT in First Set Photos". /Film. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "The Jury of the 65th Festival de Cannes". festival-cannes.com. Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 2012-04-25.
- "2013 Official Selection". Cannes. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- "Sandra Oh files to divorce husband Payne" UPI, April 18, 2005
- People, October 18, 2007
- by Admin1 / February 7, 2004 (2004-02-07). "The Coffee Table Coffee Table Book". MoCo Loco. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
- Alexander Payne at the Internet Movie Database
- Film Streams non-profit film theater in Omaha, Nebraska, which has Payne on the Board of Directors
- Nebraska Life magazine article on Scottsbluff, Nebraska movie theater saved with the help of Alexander Payne
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