2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay (UPDATED: August 8)

Since the academy expanded the Best Picture category at the Oscars in 2010, Best Original Screenplay has gone to writers of a wide-range of genres: dramas (“Birdman,” “Manchester by the Sea”); comedies (“Midnight in Paris”); biopics (“The King’s Speech,” “Green Book”); true-life stories (“Spotlight”); period pictures (“Django Unchained”); war movies (“The Hurt Locker”); sci-fi (“Her”) and horror (“Get Out”). (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2020 Oscars predictions for Best Original Screenplay and be sure to check out our predictions for Best Adapted Screenplay.)

Regardless of the type of film, a nominee needs broad academy support to win this race. Indeed, all 10 of these most recent Best Original Screenplay winners were, at the least, Best Picture nominees. And five of them won the big prize, bringing the total number of Best Picture champs with Oscar-winning original screenplays to 17. By comparison, 41 films have done this on the adapted side.

In 2019, four of the five nominees for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards were crafted by writer/directors including the winner, “Green Book,” which also won Best Picture. Expect auteurs to be well-represented in this race once again.

UPDATED: August 8, 2019

Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while other are dropped due to delays or critical reaction. To read full descriptions of each film, check out our Best Picture predictions.

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Leading Contenders

Pedro Almodóvar, “Pain & Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics – Fall)

Scott Z. Burns, “The Report” (Amazon – Fall)

Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” (Sony – November 22)

James Frey, Lena Waithe, “Queen & Slim” (Universal – November 27)

Kasi Lemmons, Gregory Allen Howard, “Harriet” (Focus – Fall)

Charles Randolph, “Fair and Balanced” (Lionsgate – December 20)

Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (Sony – July 26)

Lulu Wang, “The Farewell” (A24 – July 12)

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Strong Contenders 

Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story” (Netflix – Fall)

Todd Haynes, Mario Correra, “Dry Run” (Focus Features – Fall)

James Mangold, Jason Keller, Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth, “Ford v. Ferrari” (20th Century Fox – November 15)

Anthony McCarten, “The Pope” (Netflix – Fall)

Sam Mendes, “1917” (Universal – December 25)

Billy Ray, Jonathan Hensleigh, “Gemini Man” (Paramount – October 11)

Benh Zeitlin, “Wendy” (Fox Searchlight – Fall)

SEE 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Possible Contenders

Richard Curtis, “Yesterday” (Universal – Summer)

Brian C. Brown, John-Henry Butterworth, “Lucy in the Sky” (Fox Searchlight – Fall)

James Gray, Ethan Gross, “Ad Astra” (20th Century Fox – May 24)

Lee Hall, “Rocketman” (Paramount – May 31)

Joanna Hogg, “The Souvenir” (A24 – May 17)

Rian Johnson, “Knives Out” (Lionsgate – November 27)

Mindy Kaling, “Late Night” (Amazon – June 7)

Jordan Peele, “Us” (Universal – March 22)

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Click on the linked categories below to read our previews of each of these races.

Best Picture | Best Director

Best Actor | Best Actress | Best Supporting Actor | Best Supporting Actress

Best Adapted Screenplay | Best Original Screenplay

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