Alexander Payne didn’t fulfill his passion for directing until his late 20s and it wouldn’t be until 6 years later after graduating from UCLA that he would direct his first full length film Citizen Ruth, which set the path for this Nebraskan Natives flourishing career.
Born on February 10th, 1961 to parents Peggy and George Papadopoulos, and then raised in Omaha, Nebraska; Alexander Payne has a sense of love and connection to his hometown. Dreaming, even as a child, to one day direct films there. A Majority of Alexander Payne’s first films are set in Nebraska and specifically the directors own hometown of Omaha like Election(1999) and aAbout Schmidt(2002). Without his work in his hometown, the director firmly believes he wouldn’t have been able to capture a correct sense of place in some of his other films that were set in areas such a California and Hawaii.
A dark sense of humor and drama are the directors choice in film style. Believing that a dark humor is really societies way of saying “real”, Alexander Payne likes for his characters lives to basically spiral out of control on screen. With this technique he has achieved many Oscar nominations and awards. Racking up over the years he has won Best Adapted Screen Play for Sideways(2005) and The Descendants(2011). In addition to being nominated in other Oscar categories for his film productions, he has directed seven actors into Oscar nominations including Kathy Bates, Jack Nicholson, and George Clooney.
Having its hand in Oscar nominations as well, is his black and white film Nebraska(2013). No matter how successful he gets over the years, one can bank that Alexander Payne always finds the path that leads him home, back to his family and back to where he has chosen to keep his Oscar awards and his heart in Omaha, Nebraska.