A screenwriter’s job is to create an interesting story, complete with rounded, believable characters and a well-developed plot, for delivery on the big screen. While some screenplays are completely original works of art, others are adapted from stories, books, plays and other creative works. The following is a short list of some of the most prolific, successful screenplay writers in the history of the silver screen.
Woody Allen is by far one of the world’s most successful screenplay writers. In total, Allen’s screenplays have won him six Academy Awards and a whopping 15 nominations, which gives him more screenwriting nominations than any other writer to date. Woody Allen holds the current Academy Award in the Best Original Screenplay division for his 2012 film Midnight in Paris.
Joel and Ethan Coen
Joel and Ethan Coen are the only sibling duo to win an Academy Award in the Best Original Screenplay division, which was for their 1996 cult classic Fargo. The Coen brothers also won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for their 2007 film No Country for Old Men. Other films that won the duo Academy Award nominations for screenwriting include O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000), A Serious Man (2009) and True Grit(2010).
Considered one of the most influential filmmakers of all time, Federico Fellini is also one of the most prolific. Although he never won an Academy Award for his screenplays, Fellini did receive six nominations over the course of four decades, as well as a number of other awards and distinctions, for films like Rome, Open City(1945), I Vitelloni (1953) and Amarcord (1974).
Francis Ford Coppola
Innovative and influential filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola has received dozens of Academy Awards and nominations, many of which were for his screenplays. His three Oscar-winning screenplays include Patton(1970), The Godfather (1970) and The Godfather: Part II (1974). Coppola is the father to Academy Award winner Sophia Coppola, who took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2003 for her work on the film Lost in Translation. The Coppolas are currently the only father-daughter pair to take home Academy Awards in the Best Original Screenplay category.
With over 60 films under his belt, Billy Wilder is considered one of the most versatile and prolific filmmakers in history. Also one of the most successful screenwriters of Hollywood’s golden age, Wilder’s screenplays have earned him a total of five Academy Awards and 11 nominations. His Oscar-winning screenplays were for the films Gone with the Wind (1939), Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1940), The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard(1950) and The Apartment (1960).
With five Academy Award nominations in the Best Original Screenplay division, Ingmar Bergman definitely deserves a spot among the world’s most successful screenwriters. Bergman’s Oscar-nominated screenplays include those for the films Wild Strawberries (1957), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Cries and Whispers (1974),Autumn Sonata (1979) and Fanny and Alexander (1983)
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