Every 2024 Best Screenplay Nominee, Ranked by Rotten Tomatoes

It is Oscar season, so it is time to pay homage to 2 of the a number of classes that always do not get as a lot consideration as they need to: Finest Unique Screenplay and Finest Tailored Screenplay. The screenplay is step one towards making the movie. With no sturdy script, all the things else concerning the film—the directing, the performing, the costumes, the set design, the music—can solely assist a lot.

The record of movies nominated for the 2024 Screenplay Oscars are nearly all nominated for Best Picture as properly, which works to indicate how integral the well-written screenplay is to the top product. Ranked by their Rotten Tomatoes scores, these movies present quite a lot of types and constructions that each one work in distinctive methods.

10 ‘Maestro’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%

Picture by way of Netflix

Directed by Bradley Cooper, Maestro was written by him and Josh Singer (winner of a Finest Unique Screenplay Oscar for Spotlight). Acclaimed conductor Leonard Bernstein (Cooper) was interested in males and had many affairs all through his marriage to Felicia Montealegre (Carey Mulligan), which lasted till her passing a long time later. This movie tries to cowl their sophisticated romance over all that point, nevertheless it does not appear to have the area to indicate why he and Felicia keep collectively all through his infidelities.

The film is bookended with Bernstein giving an interview close to the top of his life, which tonally evens out with the extra fast-paced dialogue (and even a dance sequence) within the film’s first half. Bernstein’s conducting was given some display screen time as properly, maybe as a result of no quantity of dialogue may actually convey Bernstein’s interior self in simply two hours. The screenplay correctly entrusts the music to fill in a few of the gaps {that a} film of any size most likely couldn’t full with phrases alone.


Launch Date
December 20, 2023

129 minutes

Watch on Netflix

9 ‘Barbie’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%

Margot Robbie and Ariana Greenblatt as Barbie and Sasha exiting a van in pink jumpsuits in Barbie
Picture by way of Warner Bros.

Written by one in all Hollywood’s most gifted {couples} (Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig), Barbie was the highest-grossing movie of 2023. That includes a parallel world by which Barbies, Kens, and one Allan reside in a Barbie-led paradise, the film basically begins on this peppy and colourful surroundings. Quickly sufficient, nevertheless, the screenplay has to steadiness the fantasy of Barbie Land with practical scenes in California. Generally the actual world is a bit too cartoonish, however general the film succeeds at mixing emotional gravity and social criticism with surrealist comedy.

With all of the other beloved Barbie movies on the market, how may this screenplay presumably set itself aside? With an existential disaster, for starters. In the course of a dance routine, Stereotypical Barbie (Margot Robbie) cheerfully asks all people in the event that they ever take into consideration loss of life. The motion is essential to the tone right here, as this and different comical moments depend on the distinction between a personality’s upbeat supply and the darkish material being mentioned. On that entrance, Gerwig and Baumbach earned their Finest Tailored Screenplay nomination.


Launch Date
July 21, 2023

114 minutes

Watch on Max

8 ‘Could December’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%

Elizabeth and Gracie looking at each other while facing a mirror in 'May December'
Picture by way of Netflix

Directed by Todd Haynes and written by Samy Burch, May December is about an actress named Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) and her efforts to know Gracie (Julianne Moore) with a purpose to play her in a film. This requires Elizabeth to go to Gracie’s home and meet her household. As a result of extraordinarily controversial and delicate romance on the coronary heart of this movie, the conversations between Elizabeth (who is legendary) and all these somewhat-infamous strangers are each well mannered and probing.

Informed from Elizabeth’s perspective, the film cleverly makes certain that the weird household dynamic is examined from somebody who is just not solely an outsider but in addition simply needs to seize the essence of a relationship. The movie nearly treats the romance between Gracie and her husband as a thriller that can not be solved, and the screenplay brilliantly retains sufficient ambiguity to make the viewer meditate on privateness, consent, fact, and the implications of getting such a publicly controversial relationship. Could December positively earned its Finest Unique Screenplay nomination.

May December

Launch Date
December 1, 2023

117 minutes

Watch on Netflix

7 ‘The Zone of Curiosity’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

The Höss family sits at the river by their home on a beautiful, sunny day in 'The Zone of Interest'
Picture by way of A24

The Zone of Interest takes the angle of a high-ranking SS officer’s household, who reside proper subsequent to the Auschwitz focus camp. Written and directed by Jonathan Glazer, this script is much less about what the characters talk about a lot as what they do not. A lot of the characters’ traces are about trivial issues (logistics, gardening, employment, and many others.), as if these folks aren’t subsequent door to an establishment committing mass genocide. That is intentional; Glazer makes use of extra refined issues (like background noise) to distinction the Nazi supreme with the bottomless cruelty it is constructed upon.

That mentioned, the premise does not appear to require a 103 minutes to inform. Quickly sufficient, it begins repeating itself with none further insights about willful ignorance or the rest. The movie means that we’re all able to normalizing evil, however the narrative itself is so skinny that it appears extra like an avant-garde temper piece than a narrative. Reelviews take is essentially the most instructive: “As a 30-minute or 45-minute quick, it might be an extremely daunting piece of filmmaking.” Primarily based on Martin Amis’s novel, the movie is nominated for Finest Tailored Screenplay.

The Zone of Interest

Launch Date
December 15, 2023

Jonathan Glazer

Sandra Hüller , Christian Friedel , Freya Kreutzkam , Max Beck

105 minutes

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6 ‘Oppenheimer’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%

Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt sitting outside in the cold in Oppenheimer
Picture by way of Common Photos

Christopher Nolan set his screenplay aside from the remainder by making it resemble a biography that is been thrown within the shredder. Oppenheimer makes use of a relentlessly non-linear narrative to convey the chaotic mindset of its titular protagonist and ethical gravity of its topic. Concerning the father of the atomic bomb (performed by Cillian Murphy), this story covers his time at college, his troubled romances, his supervision of the Manhattan Challenge, a court docket trial, and extra.

It is a daring film to put in writing this sort of script, particularly with the three-hour runtime, however Nolan was capable of pull it off and nonetheless inform a coherent story. It might come collectively higher the second time round, however the movie’s separate storylines are efficient. Some say Florence Pugh and Emily Blunt‘s characters do not get sufficient display screen time for their very own characters to develop, and the ultimate act seems like an anticlimax compared to what got here earlier than. Nevertheless, the movie remains to be compelling sufficient to advantage its Finest Tailored Screenplay nomination.

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5 ‘American Fiction’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 93%

Cliff (Sterling K. Brown), Monk (Jeffrey Wright), and Coraline (Erika Alexander) carrying boxes in American Fiction
Picture by way of Orion Photos

Author-director Twine Jefferson‘s American Fiction (primarily based on the novel Erasure) is one in all the best directorial debuts of 2023, and the screenplay is among the greatest the explanation why. A couple of author named Thelonious Ellison (Jeffrey Wright), who writes an offensive novel out of spite after which sells it for large cash, this satire of the publishing business is hilarious and affecting. The Johnnie Walker analogy to clarify why Mr. Ellison’s stereotypical novel is so successful proves demoralizing however apt (empathetic, even), and that’s merely one in all many scenes that convey disillusionment with the world of book-selling.

Probably the greatest sequences takes place when Thelonious is writing his potboiler, and the viewers will get a glance into his creativeness: Two of the novel’s characters play out the scene as in the event that they’re proper in entrance of him. Apart from making the act of typing on a keyboard enjoyable to observe, American Fiction offers every of its characters distinct and necessary voices. It might not be good, however its creativity and humor advantage the Finest Tailored Screenplay nomination.

American Fiction

Launch Date
December 22, 2023

Twine Jefferson

117 minutes

Buy on Amazon

4 ‘Poor Issues’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Emma Stone as Bella Baxter in front of a blue sky in Poor Things
Picture by way of Searchlight Photos

Primarily based on the 1992 novel by Alasdair Grey, Poor Issues tells the story of a lady (Emma Stone) delivered to life in a laboratory for the needs of science by an esteemed physician (Willem Dafoe). Bella’s mind begins off very childlike, leaving her with poor talking and motor expertise at first. This leaves writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos loads of room for slapstick humor and exceedingly unusual social interactions. However Bella finally matures sufficient to resolve that she needs to discover the world, and he or she does.

The dialogue needs to be meticulously accomplished when the protagonist begins with a toddler’s mentality and steadily turns into a well-read grownup. Add that Bella has a really cussed, curious, and distinctive manner of taking a look at society, and her traces appear much more tough (and enjoyable) to put in writing. A lot of the novel is instructed from Bella’s husband’s perspective, however Lanthimos decided to tell the movie exclusively from Bella’s: a giant determination that’s integral to the movie’s feminist bent and odd sense of marvel for the world.

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3 ‘Anatomy of a Fall’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Sandra Voyter standing in court in Anatomy of a Fall.
Picture by way of NEON

Co-written by Arthur Harari and director Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall is a darkish authorized drama a few novelist (Sandra Hüller) placed on trial in France for her husband’s loss of life. To put in writing such a movie in practical vogue requires a ton of information of the French authorized system, together with the flexibility to craft arguments as exactly as two evenly-matched legal professionals can. To not point out the decide, and the dysfunctional couple at its middle. These are very delicate and complex conversations; and even the scenes with out a lot dialogue are impressively tense.

This ambiguous work is arguably one the best courtroom dramas ever made, given its intense interrogations, deeply immersive environment, the emotional injury the proceedings have on those that aren’t even being tried, and compellingly associated arguments that present simply how highly effective phrases could be. That is an unflinching depiction of a disastrous marriage that does not assign blame to only one particular individual, and it deserves the Finest Unique Screenplay Oscar as a lot as any of its rivals.

Anatomy of a Fall

Launch Date
August 23, 2023

Justine Triet

Sandra Hüller , Swann Arlaud , Antoine Reinartz , Samuel Theis

150 minutes

Rent on Apple TV

2 ‘Previous Lives’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Greta Lee and John Magaro in Past Lives
Picture by way of A24

Previous Lives begins with a captivating scene by which the three major characters are watched from the opposite aspect of a bar by a couple of strangers. The strangers strive to determine what their story is, however they will by no means know. Structurally, it is a good way to open the movie, as writer-director Celine Track places the viewer in that place of curiosity. Thus, the story that unfolds is introduced as if the viewer has been allowed to see into otherwise-hidden lives.

At first, Na Younger (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo) are children who plan to marry in South Korea. However after Na Younger’s household strikes to the U.S., they do not see one another in individual once more till Na Younger has modified her title to Nora and gotten married a few years later. Previous Lives‘ dialogue expresses the quiet regrets and what-if’s that we maintain inside when a relationship is not explored to its completion. It is one in all the best foreign-language films of 2023, and the Finest Unique Screenplay Oscar is properly inside attain.

Past Lives

Launch Date
June 23, 2023

Celine Track

106 minutes

Watch on Hulu

1 ‘The Holdovers’

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

Paul Giamatti and Dominic Sessa as Angus and Paul standing in snow in The Holdovers
Picture by way of Focus Options

Director Alexander Payne teamed up with screenwriter David Hemingson to make The Holdovers, a comedy drama a few lonely historical past trainer (Paul Giamatti) and one in all his extra troubled college students (Dominic Sessa). They should spend Winter Break collectively at their boarding faculty, which ends up in a number of bonding experiences that assist them every develop. There’s additionally Da’Vine Pleasure Randolph‘s character, whose story is given sufficient room within the script to really feel simply as necessary as the fellows’.

There are heavy matters to work with right here, together with psychological sickness and household tragedy, however Hemingson’s tactful screenplay is ready to respectfully tackle these points in a manner that also permits room for many humor elsewhere. Payne hasn’t directed a film that is been nominated for an Oscar in ten years (Nebraska), and it is good to see him returning to a script that fits his model. Certainly one of the best comedies of 2023, The Holdovers has deservedly been nominated for Finest Unique Screenplay, Finest Image, and extra.

The Holdovers

Launch Date
November 10, 2023

Alexander Payne

133 minutes

Rent on Amazon

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