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

Ranker Film
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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
47 16
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Fargo, 1997

2
48 18
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary Television director, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Pulp Fiction, 1995

3
42 17
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Orson Welles & Herman J. Mankiewicz Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - Citizen Kane, 1942

4
39 18
Charlie Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, & Pierre Bismuth Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2005

5
51 29
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Matt Damon & Ben Affleck Spokesperson, Television producer, Film Producer - Good Will Hunting, 1998

6
40 22
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Quentin Tarantino Django Unchained, 2013

7
31 15
Sofia Coppola is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Sofia Coppola Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Lost in Translation, 2004

8
32 16
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Mel Brooks Television producer, Theatrical producer, Film Producer - The Producers, 1969

9
37 21
Jordan Peele is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Jordan Peele Comedian, Television producer, Musician - Get Out, 2018

10
17 7
I. A. L. Diamond is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
I. A. L. Diamond & Billy Wilder Film Producer, Screenwriter, Writer - The Apartment, 1961

11
20 10
Michael Arndt is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Michael Arndt Screenwriter - Little Miss Sunshine, 2007

12
20 10
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
William Goldman Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1970

13
26 16
Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Spike Jonze Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer - Her, 2014

14
15 6
Frank Pierson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Frank Pierson Television director, Television producer, Screenwriter - Dog Day Afternoon, 1976

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15
17 9
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Alan Ball Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - American Beauty, 2000

16
17 10
Barry Morrow is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Barry Morrow & Ronald Bass Film Producer, Screenwriter - Rain Man, 1989

17
22 15
Cameron Crowe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Cameron Crowe Editor, Journalist, Film Producer - Almost Famous, 2001

18
26 19
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Woody Allen Hannah and Her Sisters, 1987;  Midnight in Paris, 2012

19
17 11
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Billy Wilder, Billy Wilder, & D.M. Marshman Jr. Journalist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Sunset Blvd., 1951

20
17 11
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Paddy Chayefsky Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Hospital, 1972;  Network, 1977

21
18 12
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Francis Ford Coppola & Edmund H. North Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - Patton, 1971

The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies

22
18 12
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, & Armando Bó Film Score Composer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), 2015

23
19 13
Robert Towne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Robert Towne Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director - Chinatown, 1975

24
22 16
Christopher McQuarrie is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Christopher McQuarrie Songwriter, Television producer, Film Producer - The Usual Suspects, 1996

25
19 14
Tom Schulman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Tom Schulman Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Dead Poets Society, 1990

26
15 11
William Rose is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
William Rose Screenwriter - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 1968

27
14 12
Budd Schulberg is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Budd Schulberg Journalist, Television producer, Novelist - On the Waterfront, 1955

28
12 10
John Patrick Shanley is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
John Patrick Shanley Screenwriter, Actor, Writer - Moonstruck, 1988

The Greatest Writer Characters in Film

29
11 9
David S. Ward is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
David S. Ward Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - The Sting, 1974

30
10 8
Jane Campion is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Jane Campion Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - The Piano, 1994

31
13 13
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Woody Allen & Marshall Brickman Film Score Composer, Comedian, Musician - Annie Hall, 1978

32
11 11
Neil Jordan is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Neil Jordan Television director, Television producer, Novelist - The Crying Game, 1993

33
11 11
Diablo Cody is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Diablo Cody Stripper, Journalist, Memoirist - Juno, 2008

34
10 10
David Seidler is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
David Seidler Screenwriter, Playwright - The King's Speech, 2011

35
11 12
Callie Khouri is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Callie Khouri Television producer, Screenwriter, Writer - Thelma and Louise, 1992

The Most Beautiful Women of All Time

36
7 8
Alan Jay Lerner is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Alan Jay Lerner Songwriter, Librettist, Screenwriter - An American in Paris, 1952

37
7 8
William Inge is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
William Inge Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer - Splendor in the Grass, 1962

38
7 9
Walter Reisch is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Walter Reisch, Charles Brackett, & Richard L. Breen Screenwriter, Lyricist, Writer - Titanic, 1954

39
7 9
Marc Norman is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Marc Norman & Tom Stoppard Television director, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Shakespeare in Love, 1999

40
6 8
Harold Jacob Smith is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Harold Jacob Smith & Nedrick Young Screenwriter, Writer - The Defiant Ones, 1959

41
9 12
Dustin Lance Black is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dustin Lance Black Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Milk, 2009

42
8 11
John Briley is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
John Briley Military Officer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Gandhi, 1983

Adorable Minimalist Celebrity Tattoos

43
5 8
Jeremy Larner is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Jeremy Larner Poet, Journalist, Screenwriter - The Candidate, 1973

44
7 11
Muriel Box is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Muriel Box & Sydney Box Screenwriter, Writer, Film Director - The Seventh Veil, 1947

45
6 10
James Webb is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
James Webb How the West Was Won, 1964

46
5 9
Sidney Sheldon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Sidney Sheldon Television producer, Novelist, Screenwriter - The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer, 1948

47
4 8
Albert Lamorisse is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Albert Lamorisse Film Producer, Screenwriter, Writer - The Red Balloon, 1957

48
4 8
Preston Sturges is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Preston Sturges Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - The Great McGinty, 1941

49
4 8
Pedro Almodóvar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Pedro Almodóvar Singer-songwriter, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Talk to Her, 2003

50
6 11
Bruce Joel Rubin is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Bruce Joel Rubin Film Producer, Screenwriter, Writer - Ghost, 1991