On the tenth day of February 1961, Alexander Payne was born. The start of his love for being behind a camera began at the young age of 14, once his father passed down a Super 8-mm film projector that he had received as a loyalty reward from Kraft Foods. After receiving his B.A. from Stanford University in 1984, he went along to receive his MFA at the UCLA Film School in 1990. With the help of his writing partner, Jim Taylor, Payne achieved his first film, “Citizen Ruth” produced in 1996, starting his journey of becoming one of the greats alongside Woody Allen and Spike Lee.
Alexander Payne went on to become one of society’s most cherished screenwriters with his hit films such as “Election”, “The Descendants”, and his Academy Award Winning film “Sideways”. Known for his dark humor in his films, Payne uses his films to highlight societal aspects that aren’t as commonly talked about like with his film on the discussion of abortion. With his Oscar Winning film ,”The Descendants” he puts you in a dark play on a ‘what if’ situation as you watch a man find out about his wife’s infidelity all while dealing with the trauma of his wife being in a comatose state. . Along with his steady theme of films with a meaning, Payne holds on to his roots by setting each one of his films in Nebraska or in an Nebraska-like scene. Payne can be described as using the dark nature in his films to broadcast the reality that society hides behind, earning him the right of being one of greatest screenwriters that has ever gotten behind a camera.