Originally from Omaha, Nebraska, Alexander Payne studied History and Spanish Literature at Stanford before earning an M.F.A. in Filmmaking from UCLA. His four feature films are Citizen Ruth, Election, About Schmidt and Sideways, for which he shared an Academy Award® for Best Adapted Screenplay. He is currently at work on his next film as well as on his second volume of poetry. His first, "Shadings and Shadowings" was published in 1992.