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

Ranker Film
2.2k votes 433 voters 3.3k 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
65 23
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
56 25
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
50 24
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
49 25
Charlie Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 4 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

5
60 35
Matt Damon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Spokesperson, Television producer, Film Producer - Good Will Hunting, 1998

6
29 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
38 21
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
45 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
43 28
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
34 20
Christopher McQuarrie is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Songwriter, Television producer, Film Producer - The Usual Suspects, 1996

11
35 21
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
27 14
Michael Arndt is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter - Little Miss Sunshine, 2007

13
36 23
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
19 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
19 11
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
22 14
Paddy Chayefsky is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Novelist, Film Producer, Screenwriter - The Hospital, 1972; Network, 1977

17
22 14
Francis Ford Coppola is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - Patton, 1971

18
22 15
Alan Ball is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Television director, Television producer, Film Producer - American Beauty, 2000

19
23 16
Robert Towne is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Screenwriter, Actor, Film Director - Chinatown, 1975

20
23 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
27 20
Cameron Crowe is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best-Ever Oscar Winners for Best Writing (Original Screenplay)
Editor, Journalist, Film Producer - Almost Famous, 2001

22
29 22
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
21 17
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
20 16
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
21 18
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