2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay [UPDATED: November 9]

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”), thrillers (“Parasite”) and horror (“Get Out”). (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2021 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 11 of these most recent Best Original Screenplay winners were, at the least, Best Picture nominees. And six of them won the big prize, bringing the total number of Best Picture champs with Oscar-winning original screenplays to 18. By comparison, 41 films have done this on the adapted side.

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

UPDATED: November 9, 2020

Please note: To read full descriptions of each film, check out our Best Picture predictions.

Leading Contenders

“Da 5 Bloods” (Netflix – June 12)
Writers: Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Spike Lee (Director), Kevin Willmott

“Mank” (Netflix – December 4)
Writer: Jack Fincher

“Minari” (A24 – Winter)
Writer/Director: Lee Isaac Chung

“Promising Young Woman” (Focus Features – December 25)
Writer/Director: Emerald Fennell

“Soul” (Disney/Pixar – November 20)
Writers: Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers, Tina Fey

“Trial of the Chicago 7” (Netflix – September 25)
Writer:/Director: Aaron Sorkin

PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

Strong Contenders

“Ammonite” (Neon – November 13)
Writer/Director: Francis Lee

“The Forty-Year-Old Version” (Netflix – October 9)
Writer/Director: Radha Blank

“Judas and the Black Messiah” (Warner Bros. – Winter)
Writers: Shaka King (Director), Will Berson

“Kajillionaire” (Focus Features – September 18)
Writer/Director: Miranda July

“On The Rocks” (A24 – October 2)
Writer/Director: Sofia Coppola

“Sound of Metal” (Amazon – November 20)
Writers: Darius Marder (Director), Abraham Marder

“Supernova” (Bleecker Street – January 29, 2021)
Writer/Director: Harry Macqueen

“Tenet” (Warner Bros. – September 3)
Writer/Director: Christopher Nolan

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Possible Contenders

“The Courier” (Lionsgate – February 19, 2021)
Writer: Tom O’Connor

“I’m Your Woman” (Amazon – December 4)
Writers: Julia Hart (Director), Jordan Horowitz

“The Invisible Man” (Universal – February 28)
Writer/Director: Leigh Whannell

“The King of Staten Island” (Paramount – June 20)
Writers: Judd Apatow (Director), Pete Davidson

“Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (Focus Features – March 13)
Writer/Director: Eliza Hittman

“Ordinary Love”  (Bleecker Street – February 14)
Writer: Owen McCafferty

“Palm Springs” (Neon – July 10)
Writer: Andy Siara

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