Everything Screenwriters Need to Learn From the 2016 Oscar-Nominated Screenplays

by Ken Miyamoto - updated on July 10, 2016

We've compiled everything screenwriters can learn from the ten 2016 Oscar-Nominated Screenplays. Creative Screenwriting Magazine offers links to their amazing and exclusive interviews with all of the 2016 Oscar-Nominated writers and we've provided direct links to the actual nominated screenplays  as well.

Please note that most of the screenplays are either shooting drafts or written by auteur directors/writers, so take that into account when looking at the format and length of the script. Ignore the scene numbers, Cut To:, camera directions, etc. — all of which should be not present in your spec scripts (scripts written under speculation that they'll be sold).

The 2016 nominees have offered an excellent array of great stories, characters, and genres. Below you'll find the likes of spy thrillers, science fiction, animation, music figure biopics, character dramas, and exposés.

Explore the scripts and interviews below, and take what you can from each and every one. Apply whatever you've learned or been inspired by and hone your own process, storytelling techniques, and style. Knowledge is power.

Best Original Screenplay

Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies FeaturedInterview with the Writer: Spielberg, The Coens and Tom Hanks.

Bridge of Spies screenwriter Matt Charman on “the most incredible film school you could ever have.”

Read the Script


 Ex Machina

Ex Machina FeaturedInterview with the Writer: Writing For Robots.

Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland discusses his new film, the trick to exposition, and the connection between writers and actors.

 Read the Script


Inside Out

inside out featuredInterview with the Writers: “Is this the Best Story We Can Tell?”

Josh Cooley and Meg LeFauve discuss why their lead character was the most difficult to write, how they emotionally connected to the story, and the advantages of working in a creative environment like Pixar.

Read the Script

Spotlight (winner)

spotlight featuredInterview with the Writer: The Burden of Truth.

Josh Singer discusses his commitment to truth and authenticity, the power of the newsroom, and the challenge of condensing life stories into a 2 hour film.

Read the Script


Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton featuredInterview with the Writers: Uncomfortable Truths.

Andrea Berloff and Jonathan Herman discuss commitment to research, refusal to shy away from difficult subject matter, and the importance of presenting the truth.

Read the Script


Best Adapted Screenplay

The Big Short (winner)

the big short 3 featured

Interview with the Writer: Banking on the Big Short.

Charles Randolph on adaptation, collaboration, and Oscar nomination.

Read the Script



brooklyn featured

Interview with the Writer: Writing Obsession.

Brooklyn screenwriter Nick Hornby discusses his first rule of screenwriting, why he doesn’t trust characters without obsessiveness, and how indie filmmakers can “cast up” by creating interesting minor characters.

Read the Script


carol featured

Interview with the Writer: “Less is More” when adapting Highsmith.

Carol screenwriter Phyllis Nagy discusses adapting Patricia Highsmith, writing for theatre, television and the screen, and how she rations her writing time.

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The Martian

The MartianInterview with the Writer: Life Goes on.

The Martian screenwriter Drew Goddard discusses the challenges of adapting a scientifically-detailed novel, what he loves about collaborating with others on screenwriting, and why something that seems like a setback might be the best possible thing to happen to a film.

Read the Script

The Room 

Room Featured

Interview with the Writer: Making Room.

Room screenwriter Emma Donoghue on adapting her best-selling novel, the locked room as metaphor and the universal experiences of parenthood.

Read the Script

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