Six pictures into his filmmaking career, and Alexander Payne is establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s finest writer/directors. Of course, he didn’t write Nebraska, his latest Oscar-nominated road-trip movie, but it’s a Payne film from start to finish, infused with his offbeat comic sensibility, shot through with the wry poignancy that’s become his trademark, and beautifully acted. As commentators are fond of mentioning, Payne’s sensitive direction has helped guide seven of his cast members to acting nods at the Oscars, a fact guaranteed to elicit a warmer response than questions about Nebraska’s monochrome look. “What’s not fun is talking about ‘Why black and white?’,” he reflects when Empire calls him at his home in Omaha, “because I’ve answered that 500,000 times. But with an open heart, I’m very grateful for the interest in my movies.” Steering dramatically away from the subject, we asked him to recommend six films closely related to his Best Picture nominee as Nebraska heads to DVD and Blu-ray.