With the Oscars coming up on the film world quicker than ever, there are the usual conversations about who will be in the winner circle. From Best Picture to Best Director, these conversations will go around in circles until the winners are decided. However, the screenwriters who give stories to the film are usually honored in the Best Original and Best Adapted Screenplay categories during the ceremonies. Some, however, get more writing nominations than others.
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Many writers have been given a lot of writing nominations over the years. Some have emerged as the best screenwriters in the 21st century as a result. While they may have been given nominations in other categories, their 2000 and on writing nods and wins are what deserve the focus.
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Pete Docter – 3
Pete Docter is the Chief Creative Officer of Pixar Animation. Docter’s nominations for Original Screenplay since 2000 have been for 2008’s WALL-E (shared with Andrew Stanton and Jim Reardon), 2009’s Up (shared with Bob Peterson and Tom McCarthy), and 2015’s Inside Out (shared with Ronnie del Carmen, Meg LeFauve, and Josh Cooley).
Docter was previously nominated for Original Screenplay for Toy Story and Best Animated Short for Mike’s New Car. He’s also been nominated for Best Animated Feature for Monsters, Inc., Up, Inside Out, and Soul, winning for the latter three. Pete Docter seems to have success after success, with there being a worthy debate over whether Inside Out or Soul is his best film.
Wes Anderson – 3
Wes Anderson’s writing nominations have come for 2001’s The Royal Tenenbaums, 2012’s Moonrise Kingdom, and 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel. All three of those were in the Original Screenplay category.
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Anderson has also been nominated for Best Animated Feature for Fantastic Mr. Fox and Isle of Dogs. He also received Best Picture and Best Director nominations for The Grand Budapest Hotel. He has yet to win an Oscar in his career.
Mike Leigh – 3
Mike Leigh has been nominated for three writing awards since 2000. These were for 2004’s Vera Drake, 2008’s Happy-Go-Lucky, and 2010s Another Year. All three were in the Original Screenplay category.
Leigh was previously nominated in the same category for Secret & Lies and Topsy Turvy. He has also been nominated for Best Director for Secrets & Lies and Vera Drake. He hasn’t won any of his seven Oscars nominations.
Kenneth Lonergan – 3
Kenneth Lonergan’s three Original Screenplay nominations are for You Can Count on Me (2000), Gangs of New York with Jay Cocks and Steve Zaillian (2002), and Manchester by the Sea (2016). He won the award for Manchester by the Sea.
Lonergan has one additional nomination for directing Manchester. He has also written nine plays and has been nominated for three Tony Awards.
Quentin Tarantino – 3
Quentin Tarantino has been nominated for Original Screenplay since 2000 for Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He won the award for his previous nomination, Pulp Fiction, and Django Unchained. Pulp Fiction is Tarantino’s best movie according to Ranker.
Tarantino hasn’t won any Oscars outside of writing, but he has been nominated three times for Best Director. He received his first nod for Best Picture with Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
Woody Allen – 3
Woody Allen has more writing nominations than any other person in the Academy’s history. 13 of his 16 writing nominations came before 2000. The ones since then have been Match Point (2005), Midnight in Paris (2011), and Blue Jasmine (2013). His three screenplay wins have been for Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Midnight in Paris. He was also nominated seven times for directing, winning for Annie Hall, and was nominated for acting in the same film.
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The 2021 documentary series Allen v. Farrow recounted allegations of sexual abuse from Allen towards one ofhis adopted children. Some said it’s unlikely for Allen’s career to recover after the documentary.
Steve Zaillian – 3
Steve Zaillian’s writing nominations since 2000 have been for 2002’s Gangs of New York (shared with Jay Cocks and Kenneth Lonergan) for Original Screenplay, 2011’s Moneyball (shared with Aaron Sorkin), 2019’s The Irishman for Adapted Screenplay.
Zaillian was previously nominated for Adapted Screenplay for 1990’s Awakenings and 1993’s Schindler’s List. Schindler’s List gave Zaillian his one Oscar win out of five nominations. Zaillian has also recently written the show The Night Of and the film Those Who Wish Me Dead. He’s also ranked as one of the best dialogue writers on IMDb.
Eric Roth – 4
Since 2000, Eric Roth has been nominated for Adapted Screenplay for Munich with Tony Kushner (2005), The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Robin Swicord (2008), A Star Is Born with Bradley Cooper and Will Fetters (2018), and Dune with Denis Villeneuve and Jon Spaihts (2021).
He was previously nominated for the award for Forrest Gump and The Insider, winning for Gump. He co-wrote The Insider with director Michael Mann. Roth was also nominated for Best Picture for the film Mank. GoldDerby doesn’t have Roth listed as likely to win for Dune this year, but it’s still another big moment in his career.
Aaron Sorkin – 4
Aaron Sorkin has been nominated for Adapted Screenplay for 2010’s The Social Network, 2011’s Moneyball (shared with Steve Zaillian), and 2017’s Molly’s Game. He received an Original Screenplay nomination for 2020’s The Trial of the Chicago 7.
Sorkin is also known for creating the show The West Wing and writing the well-known A Few Good Men. Sorkin began directing with Molly’s Game, and continued to do so with The Chicago 7 and Being the Ricardos.
Joel And Ethan Coen – 6
Joel and Ethan Coen are writing, directing, and producing partners, as well as brothers. Their writing nominations since 2000 have been for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men, A Serious Man, True Grit, Bridge of Spies (with Matt Charman), and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. They won for No Country for Old Men, and they had previously won the award for Fargo.
The brothers also have a total of four Best Picture nominations and three Best Director nominations, winning both for No Country for Old Men. Due to various rules, they used to be separately credited as one director and one producer, despite both of them doing both positions. They’ve been credited as a duo in both positions since 2004.
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About The Author
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Rory Smith is a filmmaker from St. Petersburg, Florida. He has written and directed more than a dozen short films and worked on countless others. His work has been featured at the Sarasota International Film Festival and the Tampa Bay Underground Film Festival, being nominated for the award of Best Florida Short Film at the latter in 2019. He currently writes articles for Screen Rant. Rory has a passion for film and has been an avid movie fan since he was a kid. He loves seeing both the big blockbusters and the Oscar-nominated dramas. He is a big fan of the Tampa Bay Rays, Bucs, and Lightning, and he and his wife consider Disney World to be a second home.
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