DOB: February 10, 1961
Background: Payne, a filmmaker of Greek descent, was born in Nebraska to restaurant-owning parents He majored in Spanish and history at Stanford University and later received an MFA from the UCLA Film School.
Filmography: The writer-director has widely been praised by critics for his dark comedies. His feature debut was "The Passion of Martin" in 1991, following by "Citizen Ruth" in 1996, but his career breakthrough came for his 1999 high school political satire "Election," which earned him critical raves and an Oscar nomination for his adapted screenplay. His next film, "About Schmidt" (2002), earned nods for its stars Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. "Sideways" (2004), a bittersweet comedy about a wine afficionado (Paul Giamatti) and his soon-to-wed best friend (Thomas Haden Church), earned him some of the best reviews of his career and his first nomination for directing. He lost the directing prize, but won for writing the screenplay with co-writer Jim Taylor. Since then he directed a segment of the film "Paris, Je T'Aime" and the pilot episode of the HBO comedy "Hung," which he executive produces. This year marks his return to feature filmmaking after seven years with "The Descendants," starring George Clooney.
Academy Awards: Wins - Best Adapted Screenplay ("The Descendants," 2011); Best Adapted Screenplay ("Sideways," 2005)
Best Picture Nomination
"The Descendants" (2011); lost to "The Artist"
Best Director Nominations
"The Descendants" (2011); lost to Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist")
"Sideways" (2005); lost to Clint Eastwood ("Million Dollar Baby")
Best Adapted Screenplay Nomination
"Election" (2000); lost to John Irving ("The Cider House Rules")
Golden Globe Awards: Wins - Best Film Drama ("The Descendants," 2012); Best Film Screenplay ("Sideways," 2005); Best Film Screenplay ("About Schmidt," 2003)
Best Film Director Nominations
"The Descendants" (2012); lost to Martin Scorsese ("Hugo")
"Sideways" (2005; lost to Clint Eastwood ("Million Dollar Baby")
"About Schmidt" (2003); lost to Martin Scorsese ("Gangs of New York")
Best Film Screenplay Nomination
"The Descendants" (2012); lost to Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris")
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