Paul Giamattis father, Angelo "Bart " Bartlett Giamatti, was a professor at Yale University, who later became president of the university and commissioner of Major League Baseball. His mother, Toni Smith, was an actress. Also Giamattis brother Marcus is an actor ( Judging Amy ).
Paul Giamatti attended the elite boarding school Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, studied English at Yale University and completed a drama degree at the Yale School of Drama. After graduating, followed by numerous theater productions, among others, on Broadway before he was to be seen in some small television and film roles in the early 1990s.
He played his first major role in the film adaptation of Howard Stern's Private Parts autobiography in which Giamatti played the unsympathetic program director Kenny Rushton. Radio host Stern praised Giamattis representation and called in vain for an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Previously had not even had names Giamattis roles in films like Donnie Brasco or Mighty Aphrodite.
In the following years, he was first seen in smaller roles in some big films like The Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan, and The Negotiator. His breakthrough, he scored 1999 in the biopic Man on the Moon on the life of comedian Andy Kaufman. His movies includes not only mainstream films such as The Wedding of my best friend, Big Momma's House, Planet of the Apes and Paycheck - Billing repeatedly acclaimed independent films such as Women Love Women, Couples dream and storytelling.
With American Splendor on the comic book creators Harvey Pekar, he established himself as a lead actor and could many awards for films like Sideways and win the comeback. For the latter film, he received both a Golden Globe in 2006 as Oscar nomination and was honored by the American Theatre Guild for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2006, he was seen as the lead in M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the water as a janitor and opposite Edward Norton and Jessica Biel in The Illusionist as an inspector. The latter film was never in the German-speaking countries, however, in the cinemas.
2010, Giamatti was in the comedy Barney's Version in the title role of Barney Panofsky, a producer shallow television series, which can pass his eventful life Revue. His performance once again brought him the 2011 Golden Globe, this time as Best Actor in a comedy or musical one. In 2012, he worked as a voice actor in the comic book adaptation of The Goon.
Paul Giamatti has been married to Elizabeth Cohen since 1997 and has a son.
- 2005: Golden Globe nomination for Sideways
- 2006: Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor The Comeback
- 2006: Critic's Choice Award as Best Supporting Actor for The Comeback
- 2008: Emmy for best actor in the miniseries John Adams
- 2009: Golden Globe for best actor in the miniseries John Adams
- 2009: Best Actor Award at the International Film Festival in Karlovy Vary for Cold Souls (together with Olivier Gourmet for Un ange à la mer )
- 2011: Golden Globe for Barney's Version Best Actor ( Comedy or Musical)