Oscars The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)  

Ranker Film
1.5k votes 339 voters 2.3k views 81 items

Every year the Academy evaluates a year's worth of brilliant original screenplays and picks what they believe to be the best of the best, nominating these for the most prestigious writing awards in cinema: the Oscars. This in itself is an honor - just to be nominated for an Academy Award. But only one person can win each year, and the men and women listed here are all Academy Award winners for Best Adapted Screenplay - but which Best Adapted Screenplay winners are the best?

Of the screenwriters who have won in this category, who is the greatest?  Is it a classic writer like Francis Ford Coppola (Godfather I, II, and III)? Maybe a more contemporary writer like William Monahan (The Departed) or Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network)? Maybe it's writer who penned a contemporary classic like Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List). What about the other top Hollywood writers who can count themselves among the ranks of Oscar-winning screenplay writers?

With so many options choosing the best is hard, but that's where you come in. Vote up the very best writers of all the Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award winners below!
list ordered by

1
78 17
James Ivory is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer

Call Me by Your Name, 2018

2
83 20
Eric Roth is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter
Forrest Gump, 1995

3
38 15
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer
The Godfather, 1972; The Godfather Part II, 1975

4
26 14
Aaron Sorkin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Actor
The Social Network, 2011

5
23 12
Ted Tally is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer, Playwright

6
25 15
Steven Zaillian is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Editor
Schindler's List, 1994

7
26 16
Bo Goldman is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Playwright
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, 1976

8
19 10
Peter Shaffer is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author, Playwright
Amadeus, 1985

9
23 14
Emma Thompson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Comedian, Film Producer, Screenwriter
Sense and Sensibility, 1996

10
21 13
Horton Foote is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor
To Kill a Mockingbird, 1963

11
11 5
Billy Bob Thornton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Musician, Singer-songwriter, Screenwriter
Sling Blade, 1997

12
16 10
William Monahan is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Journalist, Novelist, Film Producer
The Departed, 2007

13
15 11
John Ridley is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter
12 Years a Slave, 2014

14
13 9
Brian Helgeland is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director
L.A. Confidential, 1998

15
13 9
Pierre Boulle is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Author

16
12 8
Waldo Salt is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter
Midnight Cowboy, 1970

17
11 7
Larry McMurtry is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author
Brokeback Mountain, 2006

18
11 7
Ring Lardner Jr. is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
MASH, 1971

19
14 11
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author
All the President's Men, 1977

20
9 6
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer
A Room with a View, 1987; Howards End, 1993

21
12 10
Chris Terrio is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Film Editor, Film Director
Argo, 2013

22
11 9
Stephen Gaghan is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Film Director
Traffic, 2001

23
10 8
Alexander Payne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter
Sideways, 2005; The Descendants, 2012

24
9 7
James L. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter

25
11 10
Philip G. Epstein is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer
Casablanca, 1944