The son of an Italian academic and a U.S. citizen grew up in his hometown of Boston. Early fascinated by acting, Nivola visited the camp a summer theater and began at Eugene O'Neill Theatre in Waterford, Connecticut to play theater. He received a B. A. in English Literature from Yale University with honors in 1994 and later went to New York to start a serious acting career in the theater. Since the mid- 1990s Nivola is regularly seen on the big screen. For his second film role as the brother of Nicolas Cage in the thriller In the body of the enemy (1997) he won a nomination for the Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Best Supporting Actor in an adventure movie.
His first leading role was the 1.75 m great actors a year later for Michael Winterbottom's British drama I want you, in which Rachel Weisz was his co-star. This was followed by film roles on both sides of the Atlantic, where he became a large U.S. audience known for his portrayal of Billy Brennan in Joe Johnston's 93 million U.S. dollar expensive action film adaptation of Jurassic Park III alongside Sam Neill. In 2004 he received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for the Independent Spirit Award for the role of the young lover of Frances McDormand in the U.S. independent film Laurel Canyon ( 2003). 2005 mimed Nivola an English professional footballer in Goal - The Dream Begins, an athlete - drama traces the the rise of a young American soccer talent (played by Kuno Becker ) from the Latino neighborhood of Los Angeles down to the English Premier League. 2007 was followed by the sequel Goal II - The dream is real! and the male lead in the drama The Girl in the Park on the opposite Sigourney Weaver and Kate Bosworth. In 2008, he was together with Jessica Alba in the horror film The Eye front of the camera.
Aside from acting, Alessandro Nivola stepped into the films Laurel Canyon and the award- winning indie comedy Junebug (2005) as a singer in appearance. He is married since 3 January 2003 his English fellow actress Emily Mortimer, with whom he was standing in Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare adaptation Lost Love's Labour ' (2000 ) before the camera. On 26 September 2003, their son was born. In 2004 the family moved to Los Angeles.