Screenwriters The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)  

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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 Original Screenplay - but which Best Original Screenplay winners are the best?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn't make the distinction between Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay until the 13th year of the ceremony. So the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay didn't come about until 1940.

Of the screenwriters who have won in this category, who is the greatest? Do you think that honor belongs to Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Woody Allen (Hannah and Her Sisters, Midnight in Paris)? 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 Original Screenplay Academy Award winners below!
list ordered by

1
35 9
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen age 62 - Fargo, 1997

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2
32 12
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary age 54 - Pulp Fiction, 1995

3
39 18
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Matt Damon & Ben Affleck age 46 - Good Will Hunting, 1998

4
31 12
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Orson Welles & Herman J. Mankiewicz Died at 70 (1915-1985) - Citizen Kane, 1942

5
29 11
Charlie Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, & Pierre Bismuth age 58 - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2005

6
25 10
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Woody Allen Hannah and Her Sisters, 1987;  Midnight in Paris, 2012

7
26 11
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Mel Brooks age 90 - The Producers, 1969

8
29 17
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Quentin Tarantino Django Unchained, 2013

9
19 10
Sofia Coppola is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Sofia Coppola age 45 - Lost in Translation, 2004

10
15 7
Michael Arndt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Michael Arndt Little Miss Sunshine, 2007

11
16 8
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
William Goldman age 85 - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1970

12
19 11
Christopher McQuarrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Christopher McQuarrie age 49 - The Usual Suspects, 1996

13
17 10
Cameron Crowe is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Cameron Crowe age 58 - Almost Famous, 2001

14
14 8
Tom Schulman is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Tom Schulman age 65 - Dead Poets Society, 1990

15
17 12
Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Spike Jonze age 47 - Her, 2014

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16
12 7
William Rose is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
William Rose Died at 69 (1918-1987) - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 1968

17
12 7
Barry Morrow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Barry Morrow & Ronald Bass age 67 - Rain Man, 1989

18
13 8
Budd Schulberg is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Budd Schulberg Died at 95 (1914-2009) - On the Waterfront, 1955

19
9 4
Frank Pierson is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Frank Pierson Died at 87 (1925-2012) - Dog Day Afternoon, 1976

20
14 9
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, & Armando Bó age 53 - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), 2015

21
10 5
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Billy Wilder, Billy Wilder, & D.M. Marshman Jr. Died at 96 (1906-2002) - Sunset Blvd., 1951

22
13 9
Robert Towne is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Robert Towne age 81 - Chinatown, 1975

23
13 9
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

24
12 8
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Paddy Chayefsky Died at 58 (1923-1981) - The Hospital, 1972;  Network, 1977

25
11 7
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman age 81 - Annie Hall, 1978

26
9 5
David S. Ward is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
David S. Ward age 71 - The Sting, 1974

27
10 7
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Alan Ball age 59 - American Beauty, 2000

28
9 6
Diablo Cody is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Diablo Cody age 37 - Juno, 2008

29
7 5
Jane Campion is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Jane Campion age 62 - The Piano, 1994

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30
7 5
I. A. L. Diamond is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
I. A. L. Diamond & Billy Wilder Died at 68 (1920-1988) - The Apartment, 1961

31
9 9
Callie Khouri is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Callie Khouri age 59 - Thelma and Louise, 1992

32
7 7
Muriel Box is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Muriel Box & Sydney Box Died at 86 (1905-1991) - The Seventh Veil, 1947

33
6 6
John Patrick Shanley is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
John Patrick Shanley age 66 - Moonstruck, 1988

34
8 9
Neil Jordan is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Neil Jordan age 67 - The Crying Game, 1993

35
7 8
David Seidler is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
David Seidler age 78 - The King's Speech, 2011

36
7 8
Dustin Lance Black is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dustin Lance Black age 42 - Milk, 2009

37
4 5
William Inge is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
William Inge Died at 60 (1913-1973) - Splendor in the Grass, 1962

38
4 5
Pamela Wallace is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

39
6 8
John Briley is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
John Briley age 91 - Gandhi, 1983

40
4 6
Horton Foote is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Horton Foote Died at 93 (1916-2009) - Tender Mercies, 1984

41
4 6
Sidney Sheldon is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Sidney Sheldon Died at 90 (1917-2007) - The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, 1948

42
3 5
Pedro Almodóvar is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Pedro Almodóvar age 67 - Talk to Her, 2003

43
3 5
Steve Tesich is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Steve Tesich Died at 54 (1942-1996) - Breaking Away, 1980

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44
3 5
Preston Sturges is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Preston Sturges Died at 61 (1898-1959) - The Great McGinty, 1941

45
3 5
George Wells is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
George Wells Died at 91 (1909-2000) - Designing Woman, 1958

46
3 5
Jeremy Larner is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Jeremy Larner age 78 - The Candidate, 1973

47
7 10
Paul Haggis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Paul Haggis & Bobby Moresco age 64 - Crash, 2006

48
4 7
Colin Welland is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Colin Welland age 82 - Chariots of Fire, 1982

49
4 7
Bruce Joel Rubin is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Bruce Joel Rubin age 74 - Ghost, 1991

50
3 6
Bo Goldman is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Bo Goldman age 84 - Melvin and Howard, 1981