Oscar Screenplays: Read Them While They’re Online

Want to create your own film school for free? Read professional screenplays! Every year during Oscar season (which goes from around November until the Oscars in February), film studios make their Oscar screenplays (for the films that hope to win Best Screenplay) available online. This is so that awards voters can read them and make their decisions.

The good news: you don’t have to be a member of the Academy or an industry guild to have access to these public URLs. You can learn so much about screenwriting just from reading professional screenplays. Here are some Oscar screenplays you can download right now:

The Aeronauts

Avengers: Endgame

Booksmart

Dolemite is My Name

Downtown Abbey

The Farewell

Honey Boy

Hustlers

The Irishman

Joker

Just Mercy

Knives Out

Little Women

Marriage Story

Motherless Brooklyn

The Report

Richard Jewell

Rocketman

The Two Popes

Us

Most of the Oscar screenplays will be taken down at some point, so download them now! When you read them, you can study several different areas to help you with your own writing:

Format

Look at how the screenwriter formats scene headings, transition, action lines, description, dialogue, sound effects, montages and more. Notice the similarities and differences among screenplays.

Structure

Feature screenplays don’t label act breaks the way TV scripts do, but you can still think about where act one ends and act two begins. You can also think about where certain twists happen or how information is revealed. How does conflict escalate? How do things intensify? You can also look at structure within scenes – how long is each scene?

Dialogue

What are characters saying when scenes begin and end? What is included, and what is left out? How do characters sound different from one another? How long is each line of dialogue?

Description

How does the writer paint a picture for the reader? How much physical description of locations is given? How does the author create mood, atmosphere and tone? When does the author break up action or description into multiple paragraphs?

Which of the 2020 Oscar screenplays is your favorite? Did anything surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

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