2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay (UPDATED: October 14)

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: October 14, 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 – October 4)

Noah Baumbach, “Marriage Story” (Netflix – November 6; streams December 6)

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

Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won, “Parasite” (Neon – October 11)

Charles Randolph, “Bombshell” (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 

Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski, “Dolemite Is My Name” (October 4; streams Oct. 25)

Robert Eggers, Max Eggers, “The Lighthouse” (A24 – Oct. 18)

Terrence Malick, “A Hidden Life” (Fox Searchlight – December 13)

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

Anthony McCarten, “The Two Popes” (Netflix – November 27; streams December 20)

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

Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie, Ronald Bronstein,”Uncut Gems” (A24 – December 13)

Trey Edward Shults, “Waves (A24 – November 15)

SEE 2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

Possible Contenders

Scott Z. Burns, “The Report” (Amazon – November 15)

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

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

Emily Halpern, Sarah Haskins, Susanna Fogel, Katie Silberman, “Booksmart” (Annapurna – May 24)

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

Kasi Lemmons, Gregory Allen Howard, “Harriet” (Focus – November 1)

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

David Michod, “The King” (October 11; streams November 1)

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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