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.
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." The film received several award nominations and won a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Payne's subsequent film "Sideways" earned him an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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 Now 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.
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