Who is the greatest screenwriter of all time? What is the greatest screenplay of all time?
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Most Oscar nominations/wins for Best Original Screenplay: 3: Woody Allen (16) 2: Billy Wilder (4) 2: Paddy Chayefsky (3) 2: Quentin Tarantino (3) 2: Charles Brackett (2) People who have been nominated twice in the same year: Preston Sturges (1944): Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. Oliver Stone (1986): Platoon and Salvador. Problem is: this is a completely subjective question with no real answer.
Subjectivity is the fun of it though.
I think it's interesting that Spike Jonze worked with Charlie Kaufman and then got a (I think) win for Her which seemed like more of a Kaufman script.
It was definitely a Kaufman sort of idea.
So as someone who's never won an Oscar-night pool: Robert Towne (CHINATOWN)
Chinatown is only one of the best films of all time and let's never forget that the Oscars can go to hell because Rocky beat out Taxi Driver. Yeah, Rocky's cool and all, but that's Taxi Driver so I don't really give a shit about what the Oscars have to say about anything. Mostly, they have to say something each year and the movies are decided upon that approach so they can go fuck themselves.
I would say Woody Allen from what I've watched and the greatest screenplay is.... Chinatown just for the simple fact that it helped to learn the craft when I read Syd Field's book.
I wouldn't classify Quentin or Allen as a great screenwriter because they make their screenplays come to life themselves. If we are strictly talking screenwriters and not directors as well, I would put David Koepp up there, Eric Roth, Paul Schrader, then people like, John Logan, David Goyer, William Goldman, Charlie Kaufman, Robert Towne, Steven Zaillian, Shane Black... I forgot to mention David Mamet... How disrespectful of me.
Some great names in that list from Jeremy. Aaron Sorkin would have to be on my list. James L Brooks, too. 'Must reads' are the scripts for Casablanca and On the Waterfront.
I'm waiting for someone to mention Paul Haggis - Million Dollar Baby and Crash - and then realized I ought not wait and just mention him.
Among hundres.: Yes.: CASABLANCA ... one of the scriptwriters, was our teacher at The Danish National Filmschool ... Akira Kurosawas SEVEN SAMURAI, Frederico Fellinis 8 1/2, Ingmar Bergmans THE SUMMER WITH MONICA, Alfred Hitchcocks VERTIGO, Gillio Pontecorvos BATTLE OF ALGIER, some of Jean-Luc Goddards early films, Bo Widerbergs THE REBELLION IN AADALEN, Dag Solstads & Johan Bergenstråhles SUCH MUCH film from 1993 THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER + if you don´t know ROY ANDERSSONS films = never seen before in our very, very short filmhistory ... Enjoy & best wishes from The Viking Arera in Northern Denmark SCANDINAVIA, Peter firstname.lastname@example.org
Impossible to answer - like picking your top 5 songs. I'd put Thelma and Louise / Callie Khouri in there.
Then there's also John Logan: The Last Samurai, Hugo, Gladiator, Skyfall. An impressive resume indeed.