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Writer, Director, Producer


Alexander Payne’s portrayal of extraordinary moments has earned him two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, the first in 2004 for Sideways and most recently for The Descendants in 2012. He has been awarded Golden Globes and received honors from the Writers’ Guild of America and the New York Film Critics Circle for his remarkable abilities as a writer, producer and director.

The youngest of three children, Constantine Alexandros Papadopoulos was born February 10, 1961 in Omaha, Nebraska, to Peggy and George Payne. His parents owned a

Greek restaurant. He credits his parents for instilling in him an understanding of human life and a true appreciation of his Greek-American identity. His heartwarming acceptance speech at the 2012 Academy Awards and loving tribute to his mother in Greek are indicative of his respect for family and his Hellenic heritage.


Payne received a Bachelor of Arts in History and Spanish literature from Stanford University and a Masters of Fine Arts from the UCLA Film School in 1990. His thesis film, The Passion of Martin garnered interest from inside the film industry and was shown at Sundance. He made his film debut with Citizen Ruth in 1996, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival as a feature film. The movie earned him several awards, including the “New Generation Award” from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

In 1999, Payne received the award “Best New Director” from the Valladolid International Film Festival for his second major motion picture, Election. In 2002, About Schmidt received critical acclaim and won a Golden Globe for Best Screenplay. Payne has directed five actors in Oscar nominated performances – Jack Nicholson, who received his second Oscar for Best Actor in About Schmidt, Kathy Bates, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen and George Clooney.

The PanHellenic Scholarship Foundation is proud to present the 2012 Paradigm Award to Alexander Payne in recognition of his outstanding life accomplishments, his dedication to the virtues of Hellenism, and for being a role model to young Greek American scholars.

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