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

Ranker Film
2k votes 418 voters 3.1k views 73 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 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
59 22
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Pulp Fiction, 1995

2
53 23
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Fargo, 1997

3
48 22
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - Citizen Kane, 1942

4
57 33
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Spokesperson, Television producer, Film Producer - Good Will Hunting, 1998

5
46 24
Charlie Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2005

6
36 19
Sofia Coppola is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Lost in Translation, 2004

7
45 27
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Quentin Tarantino Django Unchained, 2013

8
40 26
Jordan Peele is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Comedian, Television producer, Musician -

Get Out, 2018

9
24 12
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author - Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1970

10
32 20
Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer - Her, 2014

11
18 8
Frank Pierson is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Screenwriter - Dog Day Afternoon, 1976

12
29 19
Christopher McQuarrie is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Songwriter, Television producer, Film Producer - The Usual Suspects, 1996

13
32 22
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Theatrical producer, Film Producer - The Producers, 1969

14
23 14
Michael Arndt is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter - Little Miss Sunshine, 2007

15
17 10
I. A. L. Diamond is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Writer - The Apartment, 1961

16
20 13
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - Patton, 1971

17
20 13
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Hospital, 1972; Network, 1977

18
22 15
Robert Towne is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director - Chinatown, 1975

19
25 18
Cameron Crowe is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Editor, Journalist, Film Producer - Almost Famous, 2001

20
20 14
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - American Beauty, 2000

21
21 15
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Journalist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Sunset Blvd., 1951

22
27 21
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Woody Allen Hannah and Her Sisters, 1987; Midnight in Paris, 2012

23
20 16
Tom Schulman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Dead Poets Society, 1990

24
18 15
Barry Morrow is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter - Rain Man, 1989

25
19 17
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Score Composer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), 2015

26
16 14
Budd Schulberg is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Journalist, Television producer, Novelist - On the Waterfront, 1955

27
11 9
Jane Campion is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - The Piano, 1994

28
16 15
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Score Composer, Comedian, Musician - Annie Hall, 1978

29
15 14
William Rose is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter - Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 1968

30
12 11
David S. Ward is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Film Director - The Sting, 1974

31
13 13
Callie Khouri is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Screenwriter, Writer - Thelma and Louise, 1992

32
11 11
Marc Norman is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Shakespeare in Love, 1999

33
10 10
Walter Reisch is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Lyricist, Writer - Titanic, 1954

34
12 13
John Patrick Shanley is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor, Writer - Moonstruck, 1988

35
10 11
John Briley is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Military Officer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Gandhi, 1983

36
8 9
William Inge is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Writer - Splendor in the Grass, 1962

37
12 14
Dustin Lance Black is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Milk, 2009

38
12 14
Diablo Cody is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Stripper, Journalist, Memoirist - Juno, 2008

39
11 14
Neil Jordan is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Novelist - The Crying Game, 1993

40
11 14
David Seidler is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Playwright - The King's Speech, 2011

41
6 9
Harold Jacob Smith is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer - The Defiant Ones, 1959

42
7 11
Alan Jay Lerner is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Songwriter, Librettist, Screenwriter - An American in Paris, 1952

43
5 9
Jeremy Larner is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Poet, Journalist, Screenwriter - The Candidate, 1973

44
7 12
Muriel Box is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Writer, Film Director - The Seventh Veil, 1947

45
6 11
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
11 17
Mark Boal is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Journalist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Hurt Locker, 2010

47
10 16
Paul Haggis is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - Crash, 2006

48
4 9
Preston Sturges is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Actor - The Great McGinty, 1941

49
4 9
Pedro Almodóvar is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Singer-songwriter, Film Producer, Screenwriter - Talk to Her, 2003

50
4 9
Claude Lelouch is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer - A Man and a Woman, 1967