How much do you know about Oscar’s history with screenwriters? Here’s a quiz to test your mettle. (Click here for the answers.)


For three years ending in 1935, the orders of finish were published. Arrange these four nominees for screenplay of 1935 in order from most to fewest votes:

“Captain Blood”

“The Informer”

“Lives of a Bengal Lancer”

“Mutiny on the Bounty”


1. Each of these pairs — one heavyweight of the 20th century literary canon, one Hollywood heavyweight — vied for Oscars in the year indicated. Which person won the Oscar each time?

(a) George Bernard Shaw vs. Dore Schary (’38)

(b) Noel Coward vs. Norman Krasna (’43)

(c) Charles Chaplin vs. Sidney Sheldon (’47)

(d) Jean-Paul Sartre vs. Dalton Trumbo (’56)

(e) Ingmar Bergman vs. Stanley Shapiro (’59)

(f) William Inge vs. Paul Henning (’61)

(g) Harold Pinter vs. Ernest Thompson (’81)

(h) Arthur Miller vs. Billy Bob Thornton (’96)

(i) Tom Stoppard vs. Warren Beatty (’98)

(j) John Irving vs. Frank Darabont (’99)


2. Name the screenwriting winner suggested by each of the following lists of properties.

(a) Cigarette, tent, two shirts on the same hanger

(b) Briefcase, hypodermic needle, Samurai sword

(c) Sleigh, X-ray machine, bags of mail

(d) Bugle, broken beer bottle, Hawaiian lei

(e) Broken golf club, camera, copy of Spy Magazine

(f) Birthday cake, Parcheesi set, diving medal

(g) Carpetbag, pocket watch, elephant

(h) Pince-nez, forged letter, torn-off military insignia and buttons

(i) Lottery ticket, sombrero, shovel

(j) Tumbrel, birdcage, roast chicken


3. He has has more screenwriting nominations than anyone else.

4. He wrote or co-wrote more picture nominees than anyone else.

5. Not long ago, he became the only man to have written back-to-back picture winners. (Name him and the titles.)

6. Name the two men who have each written or co-written three picture winners. Their years were:

(a) 1951, 1958 and 1964

(b) 1970, 1972 and 1974


7. Only two women have twice won solo writing Oscars — one in 1929-’30 and 1931-’32, the other in 1986 and 1992. They deserve to be remembered. Name them.

8. In 1940, Joan Harrison became the first woman to win for co-writing a picture winner. Name the film.

9. Who is the only person to have won both actress and screenplay?

10. In 1955, Sonya Levien shared the story and screenplay award for “Interrupted Melody.” Not until 23 years later did another woman share a writing Oscar. Who was it, and for what controversial film?

11. In 1946, Clemence Dane received a solo Oscar for her original story, “Vacation From Marriage.” Not until 45 years later did a woman win for a solo original screenplay. Who was it, and for what controversial film?


12. Match each of the following credits from the blacklist era with the correct name(s):

Pierre Boulle; Carl Foreman; Bernard Gordon; Ian McLellan Hunter; Ring Lardner Jr; Robert Rich; Dalton Trumbo; Michael Wilson; Philip Yordan

(a) Originally awarded for “Roman Holiday’s” original story (1953)

(b) Actually wrote “Roman Holiday”‘s original story

(c) Originally awarded for “The Brave One’s” original story (1956)

(d) Actually wrote “The Brave One’s” original story

(e) Stripped of credit for the nominated “Friendly Persuasion” (1956)

(f) Originally awarded for “The Bridge on the River Kwai’s” screenplay (1957)

(g) Actually wrote “The Bridge on the River Kwai’s screenplay” (2 names)


13. In terms of the quiz topic, what do picture winners “Wings,” “The Broadway Melody,” “Grand Hotel,” “Cavalcade,” “Hamlet,” “The Sound of Music” and “Titanic” have in common?

14. What nominated film, in 1995, boasted the greatest number of writers — seven — credited ?

15. Name the only trilogy whose three parts all received Oscar nominations for screenwriting.

16. What is the only picture winner not to feature a screenplay credit?

17. What is the only picture winner to have been adapted directly from a television show?

18. What French classic is the only film shorter than feature-length to win for screenplay?

19. Why did the writers of “High Society” (1956) voluntarily withdraw their nomination for motion picture story?

20. Who is Joseph Farnham, and why is he (or should be) memorable?

Click here for the answers