This article contains IndieWire’s preliminary Best Original Screenplay predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season, and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.
Nominations voting is from January 12-17, 2023, with official Oscar nominations announced January 24, 2023. Final voting is March 2-7, 2023. And finally, the 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2023 Oscar picks.
The State of the Race
While there is much to come, this year has already revealed several Best Original Screenplay contenders. Given that this specific Academy Awards category often celebrates narrative ingenuity, a film like “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” which tackled multiversal storytelling better than projects with 10 times its budget, is poised to make writer-directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert very familiar faces to the awards circuit by the time of the 95th Oscars in March.
But they already are guaranteed a lot of company. With the Academy beginning to recognize more foreign language projects in categories outside of Best International Feature, Cannes has become even more of a proving ground for Oscar hopefuls, including Best Original Screenplay candidates, as that was among the categories won by Bong Joon Ho after “Parasite” premiered at the festival.
This year, auteurs like Ruben Östlund and Park Chan-wook, who have previously been overlooked by the Academy despite making pivotal films like “Force Majeure” and “Oldboy” respectively, launched out of the spring festival in the south of France with their award-winning new films “Triangle of Sadness” and “Decision to Leave.” While the former caters to audiences’ recent desire for class satire, the latter, written with Seo-kyeong Jeong, satiates an appetite for classic Hollywood storytelling, specifically film noir.
And still there is so much more to come out of fall festivals, and beyond, including a trio of films about cinephiles: Cannes audiences have already seen James Gray’s deeply personal “Armageddon Time,” which is now followed by Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans” and Sam Mendes’ “Empire of Light” at Toronto International Film Festival — two more films immersing viewers into the environment that made the screenwriters become filmmakers. A fourth film about filmmaking, “Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths),” from Oscar regular Alejandro González Iñárritu (who co-wrote with Nicolás Giacobone) revolves around a documentarian.
“TÁR” director Todd Field and “Babylon” director Damien Chazelle have already had multiple screenplay nominations, so it is a safe bet for them to be in this awards conversation. Meanwhile,“Amsterdam” director David O. Russell has earned two screenplay nominations in the past, but compared to Field and Chazelle, many more of his screenplays have gone unrecognized by the Academy. Meanwhile, several writers better known for their work in other media have original screenplays that could make a play for the category if they turn out strong enough: “Atlanta” scribe Stefani Robinson (“Chevalier”), novelist Ottessa Moshfegh (“Causeway”), and comedian Billy Eichner (“Bros”).
Oscar contenders are listed in alphabetical order. Only films I have seen will be deemed frontrunners.
Park Chan-wook and Seo-kyeong Jeong (“Decision to Leave”)
Julia Cho, Domee Shi, and Sarah Streicher (“Turning Red”)
Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
Sam Bromell, Baz Luhrmann, and Craig Pearce (“Elvis”)
Jordan Peele (“Nope”)
Damien Chazelle (“Babylon”)
Todd Field (“TÁR”)
Nicolás Giacobone and Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Bardo (or False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)”)
Luke Goebel, Ottessa Moshfegh, and Elizabeth Sanders (“Causeway”)
James Gray (“Armageddon Time”)
Tony Kushner and Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”)
Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Sam Mendes (“Empire of Light”)
Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)
Stefani Robinson (“Chevalier”)
David O. Russell (“Amsterdam”)
Keith Beauchamp, Chinonye Chukwu, and Michael Reilly (“Till”)
Elegance Bratton (“The Inspection”)
Billy Eichner and Nicholas Stoller (“Bros”)
Tyler Perry (“A Jazzman’s Blues”)
Cooper Raiff (“Cha Cha Real Smooth”)
Seth Reiss and Will Tracy (“The Menu”)
Katie Silberman, Carey Van Dyke, and Shane Van Dyke (“Don’t Worry Darling”)
Paul Schrader (“Master Gardener”)
Dana Stevens (“The Woman King”)
Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”)