There are not many people that can say that they turned a gift they received into the impetus to becoming an award winning writer and director. Alexander Payne was given a gift of a Super 8mm projector that his dad had gotten as a loyalty reward from Kraft Foods. This turned into him going to the UCLA Film School, where his school project drew attention from Hollywood. He has since become known for his use of black satire to show how the world is within his many films and scripts. Many actors have expressed their love for working on these projects.
While it was his second movie, Election is the movie that put Alexander Payne on the map. The movie is about both politics and the education system in a dark and satirical manner. He ended up winning an Academy Award for the film and it has since turned into a cult classic enjoyed by many to this day. Three years later, he followed up this success with the movie About Schmidt and this turned into a Golden Globe for him and several nominations. His career took off from there, with him taking some breaks in between films to prepare more.
Films led Alexander Payne to meet his first wife, Canadian actress Sandra Oh. His second wife is a linguist from Greece by the name of Maria Kontos. They have a child together that was born in 2017. He spends his free time working on preserving the history of film, specifically in his home state of Nebraska. He is on the board of directors for Film Streams, a nonprofit film theater in Omaha. He splits his time between Omaha and Hollywood, but he has his awards in his Omaha home. He has spent his time in Hollywood producing several films, along with writing and directing.