A screenwriter has accused the Oscar-nominated film, “The Holdovers,” of plagiarizing a script he wrote more than a decade ago.

Simon Stephenson, who has worked on the films “Luca” and “Paddington 2,” outlined his allegations in emails to the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA). 

Stephenson alleged that The Holdovers’ director, Alexander Payne, likely read his script “Frisco” when it made the rounds of Hollywood’s “black list” ind 2013. The list refers to an annual survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays. “Frisco” peaked at number three. 

In emails, obtained exclusively by Variety, Stephenson alleged that there was “overwhelming” evidence that The Holdovers screenplay “has been plagiarized line-by-line” from “Frisco.” 

“[A]nybody who looks at even the briefest sample pretty much invariably uses the word ‘brazen,’” Stephenson said in one email to the WGA.  

Stephenson went to lengths to compare the two films scene-by-scene, as well as important sequences and dialogue.


“I can demonstrate beyond any possible doubt that the meaningful entirety of the screenplay for a film with WGA-sanctioned credits that is currently on track to win a screenwriting Oscar has been plagiarized line-by-line from a popular unproduced screenplay of mine,” Stephenson reportedly wrote late last month. 

“I can also show that the director of the offending film was sent and read my screenplay on two separate occasions prior to the offending film entering development.” 

Fox News Digital has reached out to representatives of Stephenson and Payne as well as the WGA for further comment.

“The Holdovers” is nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture.