Award winning director and script writer

Award winning director and script writer

Constantine Alexander Papadopoulos, known as Alexander Payne, is a director, producer and screenwriter who fascinates with his talent all over the world.

Alexander Payne was born on 10 February 1961 in Omaha, Nebraska. A second-generation Greek with roots from Aigio, Syra and Livadia. His parents, Peggy and George Payne, ran a Greek restaurant. His father is of Greek and German ancestry, and his mother is of Greek descent.

As a screenwriter and director, Payne manages to strike a balance between art and business, while those who know him speak of how he can achieve great results by using only minimum production- this trait earned him the title “the small Alexander the Great of America”.

Payne wrote and directed his first full-length film, “Citizen Ruth” in 1996. Three years later, in 1999, he wrote and directed his second film “Election”. The film 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.

His latest significant attainment was the Oscar for adapted screenplay for “The Descendants”, starring George Clooney. The film was nominated for three more Academy Awards- best picture, best director, best male actor in a leading role and best editing. The Descendants stars George Clooney as a Hawaiian lawyer who finds himself facing the impending death of his comatose wife while trying to cope with learning about her infidelity.

In 2002, his excellent collaboration with Jack Nicholson in “About Schmidt” earned him two nominations for the golden statuette. In the movie, Jack Nicholson stars as a Nebraskan actuary coping with retirement. He is soon faced with the death of his wife, played by June Squibb, and he must find his way on his own.

In 2004 “Sideways” was nominated- a coincidence- for five Oscars and succeeded in winning the best screenplay Award.

Payne prefers to speak with his works, but, when necessary, he can do just as well in Greek, a fact he proved at the Academy Award ceremony. Addressing his mother, who was seated among the attendees, he dedicated the prize to her adding “I love you a lot, mum”.

He has declared that he is ready to make a greek-language movie, which will be filmed in Greece.

His movie, “Nebraska” got six Academy Award nominations, including best picture and director for Payne. It’s the highest total of any of Payne’s six movies.

Payne graduated from Stanford University with degrees in history and Spanish literature. After university, in 1990, he got his MFA from the UCLA Film School.


  Comments: 2

  1. Konstantinou Nikolaos

    I would like to know what was the name of Alexander Payne’s forefather that originated from Livadia Greece. I am from the same town and checking my possible relation with him. Thank you!

    • Alexander Payne

      Yes! My grandfather from Livadiá had your same last name. We may indeed be related.