Ranking Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplayby luke-a-mcgowan | created - 04 Apr 2015 | updated - 29 Mar 2016 | Public
All of the Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, ranked from Best to Worst. This is based on memorability, quotability, novelty of idea, depth of character, and the satisfaction I felt at the end of the story.
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1. Good Will Hunting (1997)
R | 126 min | Drama, Romance
Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life.
Votes: 830,226 | Gross: $138.43M
Best Line: Well, I got her number. How do you like them apples?
2. The Usual Suspects (1995)
R | 106 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.
Votes: 961,885 | Gross: $23.34M
Best Line: The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.
3. Pulp Fiction (1994)
R | 154 min | Crime, Drama
The lives of two mob hitmen, a boxer, a gangster and his wife, and a pair of diner bandits intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
Votes: 1,767,599 | Gross: $107.93M
Best Line: Say what again! Say What Again! I dare you, I double-dare you!
4. Annie Hall (1977)
PG | 93 min | Comedy, Romance
Neurotic New York comedian Alvy Singer falls in love with the ditzy Annie Hall.
Votes: 246,985 | Gross: $39.20M
Best Line: Don't knock masturbation, its sex with someone I love!
5. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus.
Votes: 429,179 | Gross: $59.89M
Best Line: Losers are people who are so afraid of not winning, they don't even try.
6. Rain Man (1988)
R | 133 min | Drama
Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt's father left a fortune to his savant brother Raymond and a pittance to Charlie; they travel cross-country.
Votes: 462,343 | Gross: $178.80M
Best Line: Of course, I'm an excellent driver.
7. Almost Famous (2000)
R | 122 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour.
Votes: 245,746 | Gross: $32.53M
Lester Bangs: Aw, man. You made friends with them. See, friendship is the booze they feed you. They want you to get drunk on feeling like you belong. William Miller: Well, it was fun. Lester Bangs: They make you feel cool. And hey. I met you. You are not cool. William Miller: I know. Even when I thought I was, I knew I wasn't. Lester Bangs: That's because we're uncool. And while women will always be a problem for us, most of the great art in the world is about that very same problem. Good-looking people don't have any spine. Their art never lasts. They get the girls, but we're smarter. William Miller: I can really see that now. Lester Bangs: Yeah, great art is about conflict and pain and guilt and longing and love disguised as sex, and sex disguised as love... and let's face it, you got a big head start. William Miller: I'm glad you were home. Lester Bangs: I'm always home. I'm uncool.
8. The King's Speech (2010)
R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History
The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.
Votes: 624,865 | Gross: $138.80M
Best Line: "Logue, however this turns out, I don't know how to thank you... for what you've done." "A knighthood?"
9. Milk (I) (2008)
R | 128 min | Biography, Drama
The story of Harvey Milk and his struggles as an American gay activist who fought for gay rights and became California's first openly gay elected official.
Votes: 161,736 | Gross: $31.84M
Best Line: If it were true that children emulate their teachers, we'd have a lot more nuns running around.
10. Crash (I) (2004)
R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives collide in interweaving stories of race, loss and redemption.
Votes: 413,678 | Gross: $54.58M
Best Line: She had these little stubby wings, like she could've glued them on, you know, like I'm gonna believe she's a fairy. So she said, "I'll prove it." So she reaches into her backpack and she pulls out this invisible cloak and she ties it around my neck. And she tells me that it's impenetrable. You know what impenetrable means? It means nothing can go through it. No bullets, nothing. She told me that if I wore it, nothing would hurt me. So I did. And my whole life, I never got shot, stabbed, nothing. I mean, how weird is that?
11. American Beauty (1999)
R | 122 min | Drama
A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.
Votes: 1,043,161 | Gross: $130.10M
Best Line: This isn't life! This is just stuff! And it's become more important to you than living!
12. Spotlight (I) (2015)
R | 129 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.
Votes: 401,984 | Gross: $45.06M
Best Line: "They knew and they did nothing! To kids!"
13. Thelma & Louise (1991)
R | 130 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama
Two best friends set out on an adventure, but it soon turns around to a terrifying escape from being hunted by the police, as these two girls escape for the crimes they committed.
Votes: 131,522 | Gross: $45.36M
Louise: Remember when we first met? Jimmy: Yeah. Louise: What happened? Tell me what you said. Jimmy: I said you had a nice pair of eyes. Louise: And what did I say? You remember? Jimmy: Yeah, you shut 'em. Asked me if I knew what color they were? Louise: And what's you say? Jimmy: I didn't know. Louise: [She covers his eyes] Jimmy, what color are my eyes? Jimmy: They're brown.
R | 119 min | Comedy, Drama
A washed-up superhero actor attempts to revive his fading career by writing, directing, and starring in a Broadway production.
Votes: 561,852 | Gross: $42.34M
Best Line: "Is this real or are you shooting a film?" "A FILM!" "You people are full of s***"
15. Juno (2007)
PG-13 | 96 min | Comedy, Drama
Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.
Votes: 481,723 | Gross: $143.50M
Best Line: Someday, you’ll be back here, honey. On your terms.
16. Her (2013)
R | 126 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.
Votes: 518,346 | Gross: $25.57M
Best Line: It's how we spend a third of our lives asleep, and maybe that's the time when we feel the most free.
17. Django Unchained (2012)
R | 165 min | Drama, Western
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner.
Votes: 1,307,166 | Gross: $162.81M
Best Line: The 'D' is silent, hillbilly.
18. Midnight in Paris (2011)
PG-13 | 94 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance
While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s every day at midnight.
Votes: 376,630 | Gross: $56.82M
Best Line: I see...rhinoceros
19. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.
Votes: 882,588 | Gross: $34.40M
20. Witness (1985)
R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
When a young Amish boy is sole witness to a murder, policeman John Book goes into hiding in Amish country to protect him until the trial.
Votes: 83,701 | Gross: $68.71M
Should've won: Back to the Future
21. Ghost (1990)
PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance
After a young man is murdered, his spirit stays behind to warn his lover of impending danger, with the help of a reluctant psychic.
Votes: 190,724 | Gross: $217.63M
22. Fargo (1996)
R | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Jerry Lundegaard's inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen's bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.
Votes: 596,660 | Gross: $24.61M
Should've won: Jerry Maguire
23. Dead Poets Society (1989)
PG | 128 min | Comedy, Drama
Maverick teacher John Keating uses poetry to embolden his boarding school students to new heights of self-expression.
Votes: 406,957 | Gross: $95.86M
24. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, History
The world's greatest ever playwright, William Shakespeare, is young, out of ideas and short of cash, but meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.
Votes: 209,992 | Gross: $100.32M
Should've won: The Truman Show