Are you aching to read and learn from the 2018 Oscar-nominated scripts? Look no further because we have them all here, along with each trailer for each film and behind-the-scenes stories about their development.
The 2018 Best Original and Adapted Screenplay nominees have been announced and the winners will be revealed during the 90th Academy Awards, which Jimmy Kimmel will host on Sunday, March 4 at 8:30p ET / 5:30p PT.
This year’s crop of nominees offers a diverse group of writers, stories, and characters. Here we feature each and every one of the nominated scripts and offer screenwriters the chance to look behind the curtain by reading the scripts and learning a little bit more about their development and how they came to be.
Read ScreenCraft’s How to Understand Confusing Screenwriter Onscreen Credits!
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
The Big Sick
Written by Emily V. Gordon & Kumail Nanjiani
Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings.
Real-life husband and wife Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani (Silicon Valley) is loosely based on their real-life courtship before their marriage in 2007. The concept of writing a script about their story was inspired by the film’s eventual co-producer Judd Apatow when he and Kumail met while appearing together in an episode of the You Made It Weird podcast. The script was developed over the course of three years and is referred to as semi-autobiographical due to the fact that while the two lead characters were modeled after them and their story, certain story elements were altered or outright conjured for the sake of the narrative.
Written by Jordan Peele
It’s time for a young African-American to meet with his white girlfriend’s parents for a weekend in their secluded estate in the woods, but before long, the friendly and polite ambiance will give way to a nightmare.
Writer and Director Jordan Peele was initially inspired to write the script after rewatching the 1983 classic stand-up concert film Eddie Murphy: Delirious. In the film, Eddie Murphy jokes about horror movies and asks why white people never leave when there is a ghost in the house. He later jokes that if he was showing his wife around a beautiful house and heard a ghost whisper, “get out,” he would immediately tell her, “Too bad we can’t stay, baby!”
Peele commented on his switch from comedy to horror by explaining, “The reason I made it a horror film is that it’s my favorite genre.” He went on to say, “I actually started wanting to make a horror thriller, and in asking myself what that would look like, eventually, I got to what ‘Get Out’ is, which is, in many ways, my greatest fears on film.”
Written by Greta Gerwig
In 2002, an artistically inclined seventeen-year-old girl comes of age in Sacramento, California.
The working title for the script and film was Mothers and Daughters. Writer and Director Greta Gerwig’s first draft of the script was 350 pages long, which would have made for an almost six-hour long movie. The eventual film would mark Greta Gerwig’s solo feature directorial debut.
Greta spoke to Rolling Stone about the relationship between the mother and daughter characters, “The core of that relationship is very close to me. And it’s not because that was how my mom and I were, because Laurie’s character is nothing like my mother. But the core of it felt like this deep love and sense of conflict that comes out of the fact that you’re essentially the same person.”
The Shape of Water
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor; Story by Guillermo del Toro
At a top secret research facility in the 1950s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity.
Guillermo del Toro began to develop the story shortly after his breakout feature Cronos in 1993. It was a story loosely inspired by one of his favorite fairy tales written by the Grimm brothers — about a flounder that grants wishes for a fisherman and his wife. It also had a touch of Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. Despite pitching it to studios, no one wanted to greenlight it.
It wasn’t until years later when he was sitting with Daniel Kraus, the author that del Toro was co-writing the Netflix project Trollhunters with, that Kraus mentioned he had an idea for a story about an aquatic creature. “He said, ‘It’s about this secret government keeping an amphibian creature, and this janitor befriends him,’” del Toro told Deadline. “I said, ‘Say no more. I’m buying the idea from you; don’t write anything.’”
del Toro began to write after fleshing out the characters and general era that it would take place. He wrote 30 pages. And then he got stuck. He showed what he had to Vanessa Taylor (Divergent, Game of Thrones, Alias). “She introduced the Russian restaurant idea and fleshed out the idea of the spies. That’s when it became a movie.”
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Written by Martin McDonagh
A mother personally challenges the local authorities to solve her daughter’s murder when they fail to catch the culprit.
Writer and Director Martin McDonagh wrote the screenplay with Frances McDormand in mind for the lead role. He was inspired to write the movie after seeing billboards about an unsolved crime while traveling “somewhere down in the Georgia, Florida, Alabama corner.”
“20 years ago I was on a bus going through the southern states of America, and somewhere along the line, I saw a couple of billboards in a field that were very similar to the billboards that we see in the start of our story. They were raging and painful and tragic, and calling out the cops,” McDonagh told Deadline. “I didn’t plot anything out before starting. I just had that idea of this woman putting this thing up there to chastise the cops. Everything that happens after that fact is a reaction to that, and then she reacts to that reaction, and the film is kind of organic that way. There isn’t too much imposed from without.”
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Call Me By Your Name
Written by James Ivory
Based on the novel by André Aciman. In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen-year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father’s research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.
Producer Peter Spears optioned the novel before it was even published after he read an early draft in 2007. In the early stages of development, Shia LaBeouf reportedly read for a lead role and was attached to the project until the production company felt that a change was necessary after LaBeouf’s high profile troubles in the public eye.
The film is dedicated to actor Bill Paxton, who died in February 2017. Brian Swardson, the husband of producer Peter Spears, was Bill Paxton’s best friend and agent. Paxton visited the set in Italy and became friends with director Luca Guadagnino. Guadagnino dedicated the film in honor of Paxton.
The Disaster Artist
Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Based on books by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. When Greg Sestero, an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.
James Franco has repeatedly said that Tommy Wiseau approves of “99.9%” of the film. The only objections he had were the lighting of the first scene, which Franco said he believes was due in part because Tommy was wearing sunglasses when watching the scene, and also for the poor way James threw the football.
In reality, Greg and Tommy didn’t move to Los Angeles together. Wiseau offered his apartment to Greg rent-free for several months, while Tommy was there sporadically when not in San Francisco. When Greg began to book some small acting gigs, Wiseau moved in full time and demanded rent from Greg. Later setting up the divider in the living room, as featured in the film.
Written by Scott Frank & James Mangold and Michael Green; Story by James Mangold
Based on the Marvel comics. In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X, somewhere on the Mexican border. However, Logan’s attempts to hide from the world, and his legacy, are upended when a young mutant arrives, pursued by dark forces.
Writer and Director James Mangold set the story in 2029 to avoid any conflict with the timeline established in X-Men: Days of Future Past, but his goal was to make a stand-alone film not bound to the continuing previous storylines or X-Men universe sequels.
Mangold commented on the rating of the film,“For me, what was most interesting in getting the studio to okay an R-rating was something entirely different. They suddenly let go of the expectation that this film is going to play for children, and when they let go of that, you are free in a myriad of ways. The scenes can be longer. Ideas being explored in dialogue or otherwise can be more sophisticated. Storytelling pace can be more poetic, and less built like attention-span-deficit theater.”
Many still believe that after the success of Deadpool, 20th Century Fox “allowed” an R-rating for this film. However, it was confirmed in an interview with X-Men Producer Simon Kinberg that this was not the case, and the R-rating was always going to happen.
Written by Aaron Sorkin
Based on the book Molly Bloom. The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target.
This was Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut. He often confided in his friend, director David Fincher, for shooting tips. The had previously collaborated on The Social Network. Actor and Director Kevin Costner was also on set and proved to be helpful and supportive throughout the shoot.
Despite Sorkin’s attachment, “The scripts I write aren’t no-brainers to green light. I don’t write a straight down the middle movie; there’s a slight knuckleball aspect, like the three-act structure in Steve Jobs or the voiceover dialogue in Molly’s Game. It isn’t an easy movie to label exactly: It’s not Wolf of Wall Street and it’s not Rounders. So while some studio heads get excited after they read a great script, they get nervous when their marketing departments say, ‘We don’t know how to sell this,'” Sorkin told Deadline.
Written by Virgil Williams and Dee Rees
Based on the book by Hillary Jordan. Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjusting to life after war.
Co-writer Virgil Williams is an established episodic television writer, working on shows like 24, ER, and Criminal Minds. Mudbound is his first produced feature film script. Eight years ago, he had wanted to branch out and write an adaptation. When he switched agencies, the first thing he told them was that he wanted to adapt something. They sent him a stack of manuscripts, the first of which was Mudbound.
Ken Miyamoto has worked in the film industry for nearly two decades, most notably as a studio liaison for Sony Studios and then as a script reader and story analyst for Sony Pictures.
He has many studio meetings under his belt as a produced screenwriter, meeting with the likes of Sony, Dreamworks, Universal, Disney, Warner Brothers, as well as many production and management companies. He has had a previous development deal with Lionsgate, as well as multiple writing assignments, including the produced miniseries Blackout, starring Anne Heche, Sean Patrick Flanery, Billy Zane, James Brolin, Haylie Duff, Brian Bloom, Eric La Salle, and Bruce Boxleitner. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenMovies