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Download the Best Original Screenplays for the 2020 Oscars.

5 of the best original screenplay nominees and 5 of the best adapted screenplay nominees.

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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenplays to Read
January 14, 2020 72 comments
best original screenplay oscars

Download all 10 best original screenplay and best adapted screenplays.

The Oscar nominations for best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay 2020 have been announced!

Reading screenplays is a great way to improve your writing style, dialogue, scenes and much more. With that in mind, here are the ten Oscar-nominated scripts that you can download and read right away.

There are five in the Best Original Screenplay category and five in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Happy reading!

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Best original screenplay #1: 1917  by Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns.

Unbelievably, this is Sam Mendes’ first official screenwriting credit. He drew inspiration from a story told to him when he was a child by his grandfather who served in World War I.

Mendes has said “It’s the story of a messenger who has a message to carry. And that’s all I can say. It lodged with me as a child, this story or this fragment and obviously I’ve enlarged it significantly. But it has that at its core.”

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

Best original screenplay #2: Knives Out by Rian Johnson.

We all have our own way of getting inspired to write, and on this script, Johnson immersed himself in classic whodunnit movies such as Death on the Nile, Gosford Park and Murder by Death.

He actually had the idea for the story way back in 2005 after completing Brick and interestingly both the title and working title (Morning Bell) are tracks from the album Amnesiac by Radiohead.

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

Best original screenplay #3: Marriage Story by Noah Baumbach.

This script is a great example of creating something positive out of personal pain. We don’t know if Baumbach found writing this script cathartic, but it is based on his own divorce from actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2013.

Furthermore, both Scarlett Johansson and Laura Dern have gone through divorces themselves and Adam Driver grew up in a broken home. All of which may have something to do with the great performances Baumbach captures on screen.

best original screenplay oscars
best original screenplay oscars

Best original screenplay #4: Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino.

Ideas for movies can come from anywhere and Tarantino got the idea for this back in 2009 while working with an actor who had used the same stunt double for twenty years. Even so, he originally conceived the story as a novel and spent five years writing it as such before realizing it was better suited as a movie.

Unusually for Tarantino, he began this time with the climax and worked backward, having already created the main characters Cliff Booth and Rick Dalton.

[Screenplay not yet available]

Best original screenplay #5: Parasite by Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won.

Bong Joon-ho co-wrote the script with Han Jin-won and an obvious inspiration for it was the work of Alfred Hitchcock.

The story, about an unemployed couple who ingratiate themselves into the lives of their wealthy neighbors, contains two of his most well-known motifs—stairs and voyeurism and it went on to become the first-ever Korean film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

best original screenplay oscars

Best adapted screenplay #1: The Irishman by Steve Zaillian.

In an article for the Los Angeles Times, Zaillian writes how he approached turning the epic source material—Charles Brandt’s weighty biography on Frank Sheeran, I Heard You Paint Houses—into a screenplay.

In a nutshell, Zaillian stuck to William Goldman’s timeless advice to get into stories and scenes as late as possible: “Figure out what the thing is really about and cut as close to that bone as you can.”

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

Best adapted screenplay #2: Jojo Rabbit by Taika Waititi.

Waititi wrote the script back in 2011, in-between scripts for Boy and Things We Do in the Shadows. He described the writing process behind Jojo Rabbit at a Hollywood Reporter roundtable thus:

“Usually I start in various places, and often at the end. Then maybe a bit at the beginning. Then sort of figure it out. This one, I just went from the beginning all the way through in a linear fashion and I don’t know how it happened.” We hope that helped.

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

Best adapted screenplay #3: Joker by Todd Phillips and Scott Silver.

Having jumped through multiple hoops and finally got the go-ahead from Warner Bros., Phillips and Silver began writing the script in 2017, and it took about a year to complete.

While writing the pair drew inspiration from classic 70s and 80s dark character studies, such as Taxi Driver, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Raging Bull and, of course, The King of Comedy.

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

Best adapted screenplay #4Little Women by Greta Gerwig. 

We can’t emphasize the importance of research enough to budding screenwriters. Whether you’re writing an original script or an adaptation, it’s important to really immerse yourself in the world of your story.

For this script, Gerwig not only read books on Louisa May Alcott, her private letters and later novels, she also studied paintings and read poetry from the era. As well as rewatched movies with similar themes, such as Heaven’s Gate, Reds and Gigi.

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

Best adapted screenplay #5Two Popes by Anthony McCarten.

McCarten was inspired to write the play that went on to become The Two Popes by the resignation of Pope Benedict—the first time this had happened in the church in 700 years. Expect this script to be just as successful at the Oscars as his other films: The Theory of Everything, Darkest Hour and Bohemian Rhapsody.

best original screenplay oscarsbest original screenplay oscars

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Which scripts do you think deserve to win the best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay awards at this years’ Oscar ceremony? Are there any scripts you think should be in this list of best screenplay Oscars that didn’t make it? Let us know in the comments below!

best original screenplay oscars

Download and read 2019’s best screenplay nominations…

BlackkKlansman

Roma

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

A Star Is Born

Enjoyed this post? Read even more screenplay examples…

50 of the Best Screenplays to Read and Download in Every Genre

50 of the Best TV Scripts to Download and Study to Improve Your Writing

20 Best Comedy Scripts to Read and Download For Free

[© Photo credits: Pixabay, Flickr

72 Comments
  1. Prashant Panchole says:

    This is very Helpful.
    and can i translate your articles in Hindi Language ?

  2. Rajendra Magar says:

    Thank you …….it was really helpfull

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Rajendra!

  3. John says:

    I hoped that the Joaquin Phoenix wins an Oscar for the JOKER role he acted and it came to pass. This year Oscars is the first I really payed attention or followed up. Well, I blog also and truly appreciate your content. The article has really gotten my interest. I am going to bookmark your blog and keep checking for new details every week. Many Thanks!

  4. Rachel says:

    Hello! I would like to know if those scripts are the originals or not. That’s because, in an intervew, George MacKay mentions how Kristen’s discribed the feeling of sinking his hand in the “putrid flesh”. However, in this script avaiable on the post, I don’t see this description. Is this an older script or something? Because, at the same time, it brings many details that are not litteraly visible on the screen.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hi Rachel, it could be you saw a different draft.

  5. erkan says:

    Thank you so much…

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Glad you enjoyed them, cheers!

  6. Amy says:

    Thank you so much for providing these!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Amy!

  7. Janis A Pryor says:

    Fabulous reference! Fabulous source! Many thanks for providing this.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thank you, Janis!

  8. Nathan Ayer says:

    I am from Bangalore,India.Great screenplays and thanks for sharing them.I noticed all screenplays are more than 110 pages and no comedies,why ?

  9. Sophia says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. It’s always so exciting to see which scripts are nominated for the best original screenplay and best adapted screenplay. I can’t wait to read the Joker and Knives Out.

  10. Barb says:

    Thank you.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Barb 🙂

  11. Prediksi Bola dan Togel Paling Jitu says:

    Awesome article, strike to the point, thanks for sharing

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Prediksi!

  12. Tracy Lee says:

    I think all these movies were trash.

  13. Joss says:

    I need one of your reader experts to read my script. It is a fasinating story of betrayal and revenge set in 14 th century England.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You can check out our script coverage services here.

  14. Jenna Sweley says:

    Quite a poor year for best screenplay oscars this year I thought. Just sayin’

  15. Alissa Yovanovich says:

    Greate pieces. Keep posting scripts I can’t get enough!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Alissa!

  16. Dione Kuznicki says:

    All very well written screenplays so no wonder they are nominated for best oscars.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yup, thanks for reaching out, Dione!

  17. Bill says:

    Thanks.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks to you too, Bill!

  18. Leonard P says:

    It takes many years of practice to become a professional screenwriter but some of these writers show it needent take so long. Inspiring!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Leonard – it really depends on so many different variables it’s impossible to say how long it’ll take any one writer to break in.

  19. AJ says:

    I will read every one of these thank u for posting .

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Go for it, AJ, thanks!

  20. Nathan M. says:

    Warning: Don’t read the Favourite. Major yawn fest.

  21. Joseph Owens says:

    How can I download the best original screenplays from 2018?

  22. Naqeeb says:

    Dear Admin
    Thank you for sharing these Remarkable Screenplays. Please tell me How can I subscribe, I am unable to find subscription.
    Looking forward

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Naqeeb. There’s a sign-up form in the panel on the right.

  23. Tyrone Dobbs says:

    Thanks a lot for these.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Tyrone.

  24. Nik says:

    I know it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar but is there a chance that you would have the screenplay for Burning in English?

  25. Cem says:

    What is the difference between young script writers and those oscar nominated writer?
    – My answers is — we have no connections or an uncle in hollywood.
    Yours?

  26. Remees M Iqbal says:

    Please watch sudani from Nygeria an Extra ordinary indian film………

  27. Eugene Marr says:

    I’m trying to find the screenplay to past Oscar winners, Shakespear in Love and Chicago. Do you have them?

  28. kelly anne says:

    Just read Green Book script. So happy that it won, it’s truly amazing.

  29. Danielle V says:

    I’m trying to make reading scripts more of my daily routine. Thanks for these scripts.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Keep it up, Danielle!

  30. Andrea Bull says:

    I was looking for the Favorite everywhere. Thanks so much!!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Andrea!

  31. Lillian Jones says:

    Reading scripts is all well and good but surely you should be encouraging people to write more than read?

  32. Tina McFeron says:

    So ridiculous… I cant download the Can you every forgive me script. Check your link please, I’m waiting.

  33. Bismark says:

    Thank you very very much. I am from Ghana and your website is very informative. Thank you and continue with the good work.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Bismark!

  34. Nello says:

    Thank you for culling these together!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Nello.

  35. Jeff says:

    Find me time to read them all!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      We have a productivity post coming soon 🙂

  36. Lydia Torres says:

    Thank you kindly. Every piece of education is much appreciated.
    Luv from, Lydil Screenwriter Lydia Torres

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, happy reading!

  37. Mohyoden says:

    Feeling very grateful! Thanks

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      No problem, thanks for the comment!

  38. Glen says:

    Just what I was looking for! Greetings from Canada!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Glen!

  39. Anton Godfrey says:

    Wow, this is great!
    But we spec screenwriters must be aware of what WE can and cannot do.
    Anton

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Wise words – thanks, Anton.

  40. vj says:

    So Powerfully Informative Thanks for moving dreams forward!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, VJ!

  41. Mr. Borderman says:

    OMG – the answer to a teacher’s prayers!!!!! Thanks a MILLION!!!!!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Happy reading 🙂

  42. Mike Esser says:

    Thank you very much for making these scripts available. In my view, reading scripts (and Oscar-nominated scripts, no less!) is the best way to learn about scriptwriting. It is an excellent opportunity to understand where this art form is at, and how these masters of the trade managed to express emotions and relationships in a captivating way.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re right – reading pro scripts is one of THE best ways to learn how to write.

  43. Sara T says:

    I would like the Favourite to win. Thank u for the script.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      You’re welcome, Sara!

  44. EVE AUSTIN says:

    You are amazing!! thank you for providing these downloads

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