Alexander Payne

Alexander Payne

Highest Rated: 100% Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004)

Lowest Rated: 8% Gray Matters (2007)

Birthday: Feb 10, 1961

Birthplace: Not Available

Director and screenwriter Alexander Payne made his big-screen debut directing one of nine vignettes about love and relationships in the 1992 film Inside Out. Four years later, he gained praise and recognition for Citizen Ruth, a bitingly satirical look at the abortion debate which starred Laura Dern as its amoral anti-heroine. In 1999, Payne wrote (with Jim Taylor) and directed Election. A wickedly funny look at American politics through the lens of a high school student council election, the film won rave reviews and further established Payne as one of the current cinema's most cutting directors and satirists. After writing Jurassic Park III, he teamed up with Taylor again for About Schmidt, based on the novel by Louis Begley. A comedy drama about Warren R. Schmidt (Jack Nicholson), a man in his sixties, About Schmidt received several award nominations and won a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. While About Schmidt may have polarized audiences - some of whom saw it as a meaningful and humorous meditation on ageing while others saw it as little more than a depressing glimpse into the life of an morose old cynic - positive reaction to Payne's subsequent film Sideways was near universal. As with his previous efforts, Payne's scope remained limited in a noteworthy attempt to keep his characters both identifiable and three-dimensional, but audiences just seemed to have a much easier time connecting with an embittered middle-aged writer/wine connoisseur and a sex-crazed has-been actor than they did with an aged and embittered divorcee. If Thomas Hayden Church's loss of the "Best Supporting Actor" Oscar to Morgan Freeman at the 77th Annual Academy Awards coupled with Paul Giamatti's previous loss at the same year's Golden Globes ceremony left fans of the film somewhat cold, they could at least take solace in the fact that Sideways did earn Payne an Oscar for "Best Adapted Screenplay" (an award which the writer/director shared with co-writer Jim Taylor). Although Payne took seven years to make a follow-up to Sideways, he certainly kept busy. In addition to contributing to the screenplay for Adam Sandler's I Know Pronounce You Chuck & Larry, he directed a segment of the omnibus film Paris, Je T'Aime, and helped produce television shows and movies such as Tamera Jenkins' The Savages. But when he finally got back behind the camera for a full-length feature, the result was The Descendants, a comedy/drama about a wealthy Hawaiian lawyer who discovers that his comatose wife has been cheating on him. The film opened to strong reviews and earned Payne writing and directing nominations from the Academy, the Broadcast Film Critics, the Golden Globes, and the Independent Spirit Awards. He would win the Best Adapted Screenplay award from the Academy.


Highest Rated Movies



47% Downsizing Director Screenwriter Producer $23M 2017
88% Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter Executive Producer Producer 2015
91% Nebraska Director $11.4M 2013
No Score Yet Trespassing Bergman Actor 2013
88% The Descendants Producer Screenwriter Director $78.6M 2011
86% Cedar Rapids Producer $6.9M 2011
No Score Yet L Train Executive Producer 2011
89% The Savages Executive Producer $6.5M 2007
63% King of California Producer 2007
15% I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry Screenwriter $119.8M 2007
87% Paris Je T'aime Director Screenwriter $4.9M 2007
8% Gray Matters Executive Producer 2007
No Score Yet The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing Actor 2006
67% The Assassination of Richard Nixon Executive Producer $0.6M 2004
100% Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession Actor 2004
97% Sideways Screenwriter Director $71.5M 2004
85% About Schmidt Screenwriter Director $65.1M 2002
49% Jurassic Park III Screenwriter 2001
92% Election Screenwriter 1999
81% Citizen Ruth Director Screenwriter 1996
No Score Yet The Passion Of Martin Director 1991


71% Hung
Executive Producer Producer Director 2011
No Score Yet Hung
Executive Producer
No Score Yet Superdotado
Executive Producer


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