Franklin Leonard and Dino Simone have released this year’s Black List, a collection of “most liked” (not “best of”) unproduced screenplays as voted on by over 275 film executives who could choose up to 10 scripts each. 76 scripts made the cut this year by receiving 6 votes or more. Over 325 previous Black List scripts have been produced (movies like I, Tonya, Whiplash, The Revenant, Spotlight, Slumdog Millionaire, Juno, The King’s Speech, Looper, and John Wick), and they’ve grossed over $26 billion worldwide and won 4 of the last 9 Best Picture Oscars and half of the last 20 Best Screenplay Oscars. Not every Black List script has gone on to great success *cough* Meet Dave *cough*, but you can expect to see some of these winning awards soon.
This year’s first place script with 68 votes is Ruin, which already has Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and director Justin Kurzel attached. It’s about an ex-Nazi captain trying to atone by killing other Nazis after WWII ends. Considering Kurzel is directing, we have to wonder if Michael Fassbender’s going to play the lead.
This year’s scripts also fell into a pattern. While last year saw several competing biopics, this year’s list has two scripts — both with the name “Jane” in the title — about the same underground group which performed abortions in Chicago in the ’60s (This Is Jane and Call Jane). The list also includes four different scripts about a female assassin, two of whom (The Mother and Ruthless) are protecting their daughter and the other two of whom are seeking revenge. It’s almost as if women have a reason to be angry about the state of the world. Hmmm.
Speaking of women, this year’s list moved a little closer to equal representation. As Franklin Leonard said in an official statement, “There were more than twice as many scripts written by women (25) this year than our historical average (12) and more than twice as many scripts with – based on the logline — a female protagonist (34 vs. 16.) Now we’ll see whether the trend will continue, on future Black Lists and in movie theaters.”