Nebraska Authors

Alexander Payne

Born 1961 Omaha, NE (USA)

Film director, screenwriter, and producer, Payne's films have earned critical acclaim and commercial success. He returns to Nebraska frequently and was largely responsible for the re-opening of the Dundee Theater in Omaha and serves on the board of the theater's non-profit parent company, Film Streams. Films Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), and Nebraska (2013), have been filmed in Nebraska. He was screenwriter for Jurassic Park III, (2001) and directed, produced and co-wrote the script for The Descendants, (2011).

Payne got a "Best Director" Academy Award nomination for his 2013 black and white film Nebraska, written by Bob Nelson (who lived very briefly in Hartington, NE, before growing up in Washington State). Nebraska also garnered nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. The American Film Institute included the film in its top ten films of the year, and it won many other awards and nominations.

See Leo Adam Biga who has had special access to Payne and has written much about him.

Places Lived

Omaha, NE (Dundee neighborhood)
Stanford, CA
Los Angeles, CA

Author Of

  • Play/Screenplay
  • Visual Work




Creighton Prep, Omaha, NE
Bachelor of Arts Degree, University of Stanford, Stanford, CA
Master of Arts Degree in Film Making, University of California, Los Angeles, CA


Film Director


“150 Notable Nebraskans”, Number 39 on the Journal Star Sesquicentennial List of Significant Nebraskans
Nominated for an Academy Award for his script for the movie Election
His film Sideways won the New York Film Critics Circle's best picture of 2004, and Los Angeles Film Critics Association best picture of 2004
Awarded Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from University of Nebraska - Omaha
Won Golden Globe for best drama picture in 2011
Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants, 2011
Three nominations for Academy Award for Best Director


Citizen Ruth. 1996.
Election. 1999.
About Schmidt. 2002.
Sideways. 2004.
Descendants. 2010.
Nebraska. 2013.
Run Fast. 2013.
Downsizing. 2017.

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Alexander Payne

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