Constantine Alexander Payne is a well-known American film director, producer and a screenwriter. Alexander is famous for his portrayal of dark humor and for the way he ridicules the modern day American society. On two occasions he won an Academy Award, for the production of a best adapted screenplay.
Alexander Payne was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He attended Brownell-Talbot School in Omaha, Lewis & Clark Junior High and graduated from Creighton Prep High School in 1979. During his high school years, Alexander skillfully penned a humorous column in the high school’s newspaper. And he also took on the responsibility for editing the high school yearbook.
After graduating from high school, Alexander Payne attended Stanford University where he majored in Spanish and History. For part of his Spanish degree, Alexander studied abroad at the University of Salamanca, located in Spain. In 1990, he received his MFA at the UCLA Film School in California.
Alexander’s family had originally migrated from three parts of Greece, the island of Syros, Aegio, and Livadia. After coming to the U.S., the Payne family became established in the area of Omaha, Nebraska where his grandfather opened a family restaurant. Alexander’s parents eventually became the owners of The Virginia Cafe, which was later destroyed by fire. Alexander also lived for a short time in Medellin, Colombia.
Payne’s Thesis film “The Passion of Martin” was very successful. Alexander felt privileged to sign a writing/directing deal with Universal Pictures.
In 1996, he produced his first full-length film named “Citizen Ruth.” This film revolves around a woman’s abortion rights and it received many favorable reviews.
Alexander’s second film was “Election”, which was aimed solely at politics and education in America. David Denby, a well known film critic, declared it to be the best film for the year 1999. For this movie, Alexander received a nomination for an Academy Award.
In 2002, Payne produced another successful movie, “About Schmidt”. This film starred Jack Nicholson, as a retired man on a journey to attend his estranged daughter’s wedding. For this screen play, Alexander Payne received a Golden Globe Award.