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

Ranker Film
Updated February 11, 2020 3.2k votes 538 voters 5.4k views 72 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!
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list ordered by
1
Quentin Tarantino is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 55 from Tennessee, USA, Knoxville
Django Unchained, 2013
2
Joel Coen is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 64 from St. Louis Park, Minnesota, United States of America
Fargo, 1997
3
Charlie Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 60 from New York City, New York
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2005
4
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 48 from Cambridge, USA, Massachusetts
Good Will Hunting, 1998
5
Orson Welles is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dec. at 70 (1915-1985) from Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States of America
Citizen Kane, 1942
6
Jordan Peele is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 40 from New York City, New York, United States of America

Get Out, 2018

7
Sofia Coppola is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 47 from New York City, USA, New York
Lost in Translation, 2004
8
Spike Jonze is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 49 from Rockville, Montgomery County, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Maryland
Her, 2014
9
Michael Arndt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Little Miss Sunshine, 2007
10
Christopher McQuarrie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 51 from Princeton Junction, New Jersey, United States of America
The Usual Suspects, 1996
11
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 83 from New York City, New York, United States of America
Hannah and Her Sisters, 1987; Midnight in Paris, 2012
12
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 61 from Area code 678, Area code 404, United States of America, United States, with Territories, Georgia, Fulton County, Area code 470, Atlanta
American Beauty, 2000
13
Robert Towne is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 84 from Los Angeles, California, United States of America
Chinatown, 1975
14
Cameron Crowe is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 61 from USA, California, Palm Springs
Almost Famous, 2001
15
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dec. at 58 (1923-1981) from New York City, New York, United States of America
The Hospital, 1972; Network, 1977
16
William Goldman is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 87 from Highland Park, Illinois
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1970
17
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 92 from New York City, New York, United States of America
The Producers, 1969
18
Alejandro Gonzále... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 55 from Mexico City, Mexico
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), 2015
19
Billy Wilder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dec. at 96 (1906-2002) from Sucha Beskidzka, Poland
Sunset Blvd., 1951
20
I. A. L. Diamond is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dec. at 68 (1920-1988) from Ungheni, Moldova
The Apartment, 1961
21
Tom Schulman is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 68 from Nashville, Tennessee
Dead Poets Society, 1990
22
Frank Pierson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dec. at 87 (1925-2012) from Chappaqua, New York
Dog Day Afternoon, 1976
23
Bong Joon-ho is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 49 from Daegu, South Korea

Parasite, 2019

24
Budd Schulberg is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Dec. at 95 (1914-2009) from New York City, New York, United States of America
On the Waterfront, 1955
25
Barry Morrow is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Age 70 from Austin, Minnesota
Rain Man, 1989