Oscar Winning Director Alexander Payne Sworn in as a Greek citizen


Two time Oscar winning screenwriter - director Alexander Payne was sworn in as a Greek citizen at the Consulate General of Greece in Boston on Tuesday, the consulate announced on  Twitter.

Congratulating Payne, who was born and raised in the United States by parents of Greek descent, it noted that "this was possible thanks to the work of Evgenia Beniatoglou, Consul General of Greece in Los Angeles."

Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias, who retweeted the consulate's post, wrote that Payne "proved once again that he does not forget his family roots."

In 2017, Metacritic ranked Payne 2nd on its list of the 25 best film directors of the 21st century.

Born Constantine Alexander Payne, the Greek American filmmaker is  best known for the films, Citizen Ruth (1996), Election (1999), About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004), The Descendants (2011), Nebraska (2013) and Downsizing (2017). They are noted for their dark humor and satirical depictions of contemporary American society. Payne is a two-time winner of the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and a three-time nominee of the Academy Award for Best Director.

Payne was born in Omaha, Nebraska, to Peggy and George Payne, restaurant owners.  He is the youngest of three sons and grew up in the Dundee neighbourhood.

His father is of Greek and German descent, and his mother is of Greek ancestry.  Payne's paternal grandfather, Nicholas "Nick" Payne, anglicized the last name from "Papadopoulos".  His family comes from three areas in Greece: the island of Syros, Livadia, and Aegio.

Payne's family was part of the fabric of Omaha, which he refers to as part of his upbringing. His grandfather was a founder of The Virginia Cafe, with Payne's father taking over the restaurant. Payne went there regularly as a child. The restaurant was destroyed in a fire in 1969; the W. Dale Clark Library was later built on the site.

Payne's paternal grandmother, Clara Payne (née Hoffman), was from a German Nebraska family from Lincoln, Nebraska.

In Omaha, Payne attended Brownell-Talbot School, Dundee Elementary School, and Lewis and Clark Junior High. He graduated from Creighton Prep for high school in 1979. At Prep, Payne wrote a humor column for his high school newspaper and was the editor of the high school yearbook.

Payne then attended Stanford University, where he majored in Spanish and History. As a part of his Spanish degree, he studied at Spain's University of Salamanca. He later lived a few months in Medellin, Colombia, where he published an article about social changes between 1900 and 1930. Payne received his MFA in 1990 from the UCLA Film School.

In 2012, he was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.  His 2013 film Nebraska was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. With his Academy Award nomination for Nebraska in 2014,  Payne has been nominated seven times, winning the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay twice.

In 2014, The Location Managers Guild of America honoured Alexander with their inaugural Eva Monley Award for his masterful use of location as another character.