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

Ranker Film
2.3k votes 443 voters 3.6k 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
71 24
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
61 27
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
53 25
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
64 35
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
53 28
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
32 12
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1970

7
41 22
Sofia Coppola is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter
Lost in Translation, 2004

8
49 29
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
47 29
Jordan Peele is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Comedian, Television producer, Musician

Get Out, 2018

10
29 14
Michael Arndt is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter
Little Miss Sunshine, 2007

11
38 22
Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Cinematographer
Her, 2014

12
39 23
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Theatrical producer, Film Producer
The Producers, 1969

13
36 21
Christopher McQuarrie is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Songwriter, Television producer, Film Producer
The Usual Suspects, 1996

14
21 9
Frank Pierson is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Screenwriter
Dog Day Afternoon, 1976

15
25 14
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter
The Hospital, 1972; Network, 1977

16
25 15
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer
American Beauty, 2000

17
30 20
Cameron Crowe is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Editor, Journalist, Film Producer
Almost Famous, 2001

18
21 12
I. A. L. Diamond is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter, Writer
The Apartment, 1961

19
23 14
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer
Patton, 1971

20
25 16
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Journalist, Film Producer, Screenwriter
Sunset Blvd., 1951

21
31 23
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Woody Allen
Hannah and Her Sisters, 1987; Midnight in Paris, 2012

22
24 17
Tom Schulman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television producer, Film Producer, Screenwriter
Dead Poets Society, 1990

23
24 17
Robert Towne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director
Chinatown, 1975

24
25 18
Alejandro González Iñárritu is listed (or ranked) 24 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

25
21 17
Barry Morrow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Film Producer, Screenwriter
Rain Man, 1989