Academy Awards

Best Screenplays
and Writers

Facts & Trivia (2)
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Best Screenplays and Writers Sections

Facts & Trivia (1) | Facts & Trivia (2) | Facts & Trivia (3) | Winners Chart

The Best Screenplays/Writers Academy Awards
Facts and Trivia (2)

Other Leading Contenders for Most Writing Nominations and Wins:
  • Ben Hecht: (6 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Underworld (1927/28), The Scoundrel (1935)
    Nominations: Viva Villa! (1934), Wuthering Heights (1939), Angels Over Broadway (1940), Notorious (1946)

  • Carl Foreman: (6 Nominations, 1 Win)
    Oscar win: The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
    Nominations: Champion (1949), The Men (1950), High Noon (1952), The Guns of Navarone (1961), Young Winston (1972)

  • Oliver Stone: (6 Nominations, 1 Win)
    Oscar win: Midnight Express (1978)
    Nominations: Platoon (1986), Salvador (1986), Born on the Fourth of July (1989), JFK (1991), Nixon (1995)

  • Robert Benton: (5 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), Places in the Heart (1984)
    Nominations: Bonnie and Clyde (1967), The Late Show (1977), Nobody's Fool (1994)

  • Joseph L. Mankiewicz: (5 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: A Letter to Three Wives (1949), All About Eve (1950)
    Nominations: Skippy (1930/31), No Way Out (1950), The Barefoot Contessa (1954)

  • Michael Wilson: (5 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: A Place in the Sun (1951), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) +
    Nominations: 5 Fingers (1952), Friendly Persuasion (1956), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) +
    (+ Wilson was posthumously given his Oscar nominated credit - and in the case of The Bridge of the River Kwai (1957), his Oscar (in 1985) - due to his blacklisting and working on each screenplay anonymously. The credited and awarded screenwriter, Pierre Boule, could not speak or write English.)

  • Quentin Tarantino: (4 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Pulp Fiction (1994), Django Unchained (2012)
    Nominations: Inglourious Basterds (2009), Once Upon a Hollywood (2019)

  • George Seaton: (4 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Miracle on 34th Street (1947), The Country Girl (1954)
    Nominations: The Song of Bernadette (1943), Airport (1970)

  • Stanley Shapiro: (4 Nominations, 1 Win)
    Oscar wins: Pillow Talk (1959)
    Nominations: Operation Petticoat (1959), Lover Come Back (1961), That Touch of Mink (1962)

  • Melvin Frank: (4 Nominations, 0 Wins)
    Nominations: The Road to Utopia (1946), Knock on Wood (1954), The Facts of Life (1960), A Touch of Class (1973)

  • Edward Anhalt: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Panic in the Streets (1950), Becket (1964)
    Nominations: The Sniper (1952)

  • Dalton Trumbo: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Roman Holiday (1953), The Brave One (1956)+

    Nominations: Kitty Foyle (1940)
    (+ Trumbo wrote The Brave One (1956) under the pseudonym Robert Rich due to blacklisting, and received his award shortly before his death in 1976.)

  • Frances Marion: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: The Big House (1929/30), The Champ (1931/32)
    Nominations: The Prizefighter and the Lady (1932/33)

  • Waldo Salt: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Midnight Cowboy (1969), Coming Home (1978)
    Nominations: Serpico (1973)

  • Alvin Sargent: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Julia (1977), Ordinary People (1980)
    Nominations: Paper Moon (1973)

  • Ruth Prawer Jhabvala: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: A Room with a View (1985), Howards End (1992)
    Nominations: The Remains of the Day (1993)

  • Alan Jay Lerner: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: An American in Paris (1951), Gigi (1958)
    Nominations: My Fair Lady (1964)

  • Robert Bolt: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Doctor Zhivago (1965), A Man for All Seasons (1966)
    Nominations: Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

  • Frank Cavett: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: Going My Way (1944), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)
    Nominations: Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947)

  • Horton Foote: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), Tender Mercies (1983)
    Nominations: The Trip to Bountiful (1985)

  • Bo Goldman: (3 Nominations, 2 Wins)
    Oscar wins: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), Melvin and Howard (1980)
    Nominations: Scent of a Woman (1992)

Writers with Triple Wins for the Same Film:

A few writers/directors have accomplished the 'hat trick' of triple Oscar wins as producer-director-writer:

Other Mosts:

  • Toy Story (1995), nominated for Best Original Screenplay, had the most screenwriters (7) attached to an Oscar screenplay nominee

  • Three films are tied for the most screenwriters (4) attached to an Oscar screenplay winner
    - Pygmalion (1938) (a winner in two categories: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Screenplay)
    - Mrs. Miniver (1942) (for Best Screenplay)
    - Pillow Talk (1959) (for Best Story and Screenplay)

Trivia for Academy Award Writing Nominations and Wins: Firsts

  • Because of confused Academy rules, Bess Meredyth (for A Woman of Affairs (1928/29) and Wonder of Women (1928/29)) and Josephine Lovett (for Our Dancing Daughters (1928/29)) were the first women to receive a screenplay "nomination," but they were not officially nominated

  • Elliott Clawson was nominated (but not officially) for four films in one ceremony, in 1928/29 (for The Cop; The Leatherneck; Sal of Singapore; and Skyscraper)

  • Frances Marion, a renowned and respected scriptwriter, was the first woman to win a solo writing Oscar - Best Screenplay for The Big House (1929/30). This win also gave her the distinction of being the first woman to write a Best Picture nominee. She duplicated this feat and became the first screenwriter to win two screenwriting Oscars with her Best Original Story win for The Champ (1931/32). She was nominated only one other time - without a win, for Best Original Screenplay for The Prizefighter and the Lady (1932/33). [She scripted screenplays from the silent era into the late 30s, for films such as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917), Anne of Green Gables (1919), Pollyanna (1920), Stella Dallas (1925), The Scarlet Letter (1926), Anna Christie (1931), Dinner at Eight (1933), Camille (1936), and The Good Earth (1937).]

  • Sarah Y. Mason became the first woman to be a co-winner of a screenplay award, Best Screenplay Adaptation for Little Women (1932/33). [Her co-winner was Victor Heerman.]

  • Paul Green and Sonya Levien were the first screenwriters to be nominated for a musical script (State Fair (1932))

  • Both Casey Robinson and Gregory Rogers were the first and only write-in candidates for screenwriting (in the same year) that were not official nominees, for Captain Blood (1935) and G-Men (1935) respectively

  • Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett became the first screenwriters to be nominated for a sequel, After the Thin Man (1936). [Its predecessor, The Thin Man (1934), was also nominated for Best Screenplay Adaptation, and written by the same duo.]

  • Sidney Howard became the first post-humous Oscar winner, for writing the screenplay for Gone With the Wind (1939).

  • Joan Harrison became the first screenwriter to be nominated in two different categories in the same year: Rebecca (1940) (Best Screenplay) and Foreign Correspondent (1940) (Best Original Screenplay). Both films were directed by Alfred Hitchcock

  • Emeric Pressburger became the first (and only) screenwriter to be nominated in three different screenwriting categories in a single year: Best Original Story (The Invaders (1942) aka The 49th Parallel (win)), Best Original Screenplay (One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942)), and Best Screenplay - Adapted (also for The Invaders (1942))

  • George Froeschel, Claudine West and Arthur Wimperis were the first trio of screenwriters to be nominated in the same year in the same category (Best Screenplay), for Mrs. Miniver (1942) (with James Hilton, with whom they won) and for Random Harvest (1942)

  • Julius and Philip Epstein were the first (and only) twins to win the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, for Casablanca (1942)

  • Benjamin Glazer became the first screenwriter to win Best Screenplay for two different screenplay catagories: Best Adapted Screenplay (Seventh Heaven (1927/28), the first screenplay adaptation Oscar ever awarded) and Best Original Story (Arise, My Love (1940))

  • The visually compelling, Oscar-winning short film with a minimal narrative, The Red Balloon (1956), won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award even though the screenplay consisted of extremely sparse dialogue. It told about a young Parisian boy and his unique bond with a red balloon.

  • Divorce - Italian Style (1962) was the first foreign language film to win a screenplay Oscar. Ugo Pirro was the first foreign language screenwriter to have two nominations in two categories in the same ceremony: The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971) (Screenplay - Original) and Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970) (Screenplay - Adapted)

  • Emma Thompson became the only individual to have won an Academy Award for both acting (Best Actress for Howards End (1992)) and screenwriting (Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1995))

  • In 2007, four female scriptwriters (all first-time nominees) were nominated for individual screenplay honors:

    Original Screenplay nomination: Diablo Cody for Juno, Tamara Jenkins for The Savages, and Nancy Oliver for Lars and the Real Girl
    Adapted Screenplay nomination: Sarah Polley for Away From Her

  • Geoffrey Fletcher became the first black scriptwriter to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, for Precious (2009). He was the first African American to win Best Screenplay (for either Original or Adapted). The next African-American Oscar winner of Best Adapted Screenplay was John Ridley for 12 Years A Slave (2013).

  • With his scriptwriting nominations for Silver Linings Playbook (2012) and American Hustle (2013), David O. Russell joined the ranks of six other filmmakers who were nominated in back-to-back years for directing and writing: Billy Wilder (Double Indemnity (1944) and The Lost Weekend (1945)), David Lean (Brief Encounter (1946) and Great Expectations (1947)), Joseph L. Mankiewicz (A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950)), John Huston (The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The African Queen (1951)), Richard Brooks (The Professionals (1966) and In Cold Blood (1967)), and Woody Allen (Annie Hall (1977) and Interiors (1978)).

  • As of 2017, only nine animated films have received nominations for Best Original (O) or Adapted (A) Screenplay (and eight of them were Disney/Pixar films). The nine nominees (none of them won) included: Toy Story (1995) (O), Shrek (2001) (A), Finding Nemo (2003) (O), The Incredibles (2004) (O), Ratatouille (2007) (O), Wall-E (2008) (O), Up (2009) (O), Toy Story 3 (2010) (A), and Inside Out (2015) (O).

  • African-American writer/director Jordan Peele was nominated as Best Director for Get Out (2017), his solo directorial debut film. Peele's nomination for Best Director made him the fifth black director ever nominated for the Oscar. He was also nominated and received the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay - and became the first African-American to earn this particular Oscar. He was also honored as the producer of the Best Picture nominee. Therefore, he was the first black filmmaker (and the third filmmaker of all time, after Warren Beatty and James L. Brooks) ever nominated for the trifecta of directing, writing, and producing in the same year for his debut feature film.

  • 89 year-old James Ivory, a four-time nominee and well-known for his Merchant Ivory Productions and acclaimed British period films, finally won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Call Me By Your Name (2017), marking him as the oldest Oscar winner to date. He had previously been nominated three times as Best Director for A Room with a View (1985), Howards End (1992), and The Remains of the Day (1993).

  • The Best Picture-winning fantasy romance The Shape of Water (2017) was only the second movie with a credited female screenwriter (Vanessa Taylor with co-writer Guillermo del Toro) to win Best Picture since World War II. [Note: The first film was Best Picture-winning The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) - co-written by two female screenwriters: Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.]

  • One of the X-Men franchise superhero films, Logan (2017) was the first superhero film to be nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

  • Spike Lee’s Oscar for his co-written Best Adapted Screenplay for BlacKkKlansman (2018) came 29 years after his first nomination for Best Original Screenplay for Do the Right Thing (1989). Among screenwriters, this was the second-longest gap between first nomination and first win. Previously, there was a 34-year gap between The Last Picture Show (1971) and Brokeback Mountain (2005) for Larry McMurtry.

  • The Best Picture winner Green Book (2018) was the first film to win Best Original Screenplay for multiple screenwriters who were all nominated as producers for Best Picture (Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly).

  • In 2019, the Best Original Screenplay Oscar awarded to Parasite (2019, S. Korea) was the first writing win for an entirely Foreign-Language film since Talk to Her (2002, Sp.), and it was the first time Asian writers had ever won an Oscar. And the Best Adapted Screenplay went to Maori indigenous film-maker Taika Waititi for Jojo Rabbit (2019), marking a year that two non-white scribes received screenplay accolades.

  • The 2010s was the first decade since the 1960s with zero female writing Oscar winners.

  • Sarah Polley’s Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Women Talking (2022) has now been presented to women nine times. Last year's winner was also female: Sian Heder for CODA (2021).

  • the sole win for director and co-screenwriter Justine Triet's multi-lingual, dramatic courtroom thriller Anatomy of a Fall was Best Original Screenplay Oscar (for Justine Triet and her co-writer Arthur Harari) - Triet's win was the first for a female in this category. It was the first French screenplay to win since Claude Lelouch’s A Man and A Woman (1966).

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