Black List (survey)

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This article is about the list of top unfilmed movie screenplays. For the NBC TV series, see The Blacklist (TV series). For other uses, see Blacklist (disambiguation).
Black List logo.png
Created 2004
Author(s) Franklin Leonard
Purpose Ranking of top unproduced screenplays

The Black List is an annual survey of the "most liked" motion picture screenplays not yet produced. It has been published every year since 2005 on the second Friday of December by Franklin Leonard, a development executive who subsequently worked at Universal Pictures[1] and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment.[2][3][4] The website states that these are not necessarily "the best" screenplays, but rather "the most liked", since it is based on a survey of studio and production company executives.[5]

Of the approximately 1000 screenplays The Black List has included since 2005, nearly a third have been later produced as theatrical films, including successful and award-winning examples such as Argo,[6] American Hustle, Juno,[7] The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire,[8] Spotlight and The Revenant. The produced films have all together grossed well over $25.54 billion, and have been nominated for 241 Academy Awards and 205 Golden Globe Awards, winning 48 and 40, respectively.[9] As of the 88th Academy Awards, four of the last eight best picture Oscars went to scripts featured on a previous Black List, as well as ten of the last 20 screenwriting Oscars (Original and Adapted Screenplays). In addition, writers whose scripts are listed often find that they are more readily hired for other jobs, even if their listed screenplays still have not been produced, such as Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, two of the writers of the Oscar-winning screenplay of The Descendants, who had an earlier screenplay make the list.[3] Slate columnist David Haglund has written that the list's reputation as a champion for "beloved but challenging" works has been overstated, since "these are screenplays that are already making the Hollywood rounds. And while, as a rule, they have not yet been produced, many of them are already in production."[10]


The first Black List was compiled in 2005 by Franklin Leonard, at the time working as a development executive for Leonardo DiCaprio's production company, Appian Way Productions. He emailed about 90 fellow development executives and asked them to name the 10 best unproduced screenplays they read that year. To thank them for participating, he compiled the list and sent it to the respondents. The name The Black List was a nod to his heritage as an African American man, and also as a subtle reference to the writers who were barred during the McCarthy era as part of the Hollywood blacklist.[11]

The screenplays to top The Black List, from 2005 to 2015 respectively, are: Things We Lost in the Fire; The Brigands of Rattleborge; Recount; The Beaver; The Muppet Man; College Republicans; The Imitation Game; Draft Day; Holland, Michigan; Catherine the Great; and Bubbles.


The Black List tallies the number of "likes" various screenplays have been given by development executives. Screenplays are ranked based on how many likes each of them get. The most likes received by a single screenplay is The Imitation Game, with 133 upon topping the 2011 list; it went on to win the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Films on the Black List[edit]

More than 300 screenplays have been put into production after appearing on The Black List. These include:[12][13]

2005 Black List[edit]

2006 Black List[edit]

2007 Black List[edit]

2008 Black List[edit]

2009 Black List[edit]

2010 Black List[edit]

2011 Black List[edit]

2012 Black List[edit]

2013 Black List[edit]

2014 Black List[edit]

2015 Black List[edit]


  1. ^ Sperling, Nicole (December 10, 2008). "The Black List: How Hollywood's Buzziest Scripts Get Their Juice". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ Sperling, Nicole (September 19, 2012). "Black List founder Franklin Leonard out at Overbrook Entertainment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Geoff Edgars, "Hollywood’s talent pool", Boston Globe, February 23, 2012.
  4. ^ The Wall Street Journal 12/13/2012
  5. ^ Nicole Sperling, "A 'Black List' that's a career boost", Los Angeles Times, December 13, 2011.
  6. ^ Finke, Nikki. "The Black List 2010: Screenplay Roster". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Nicole Sperling, "The Black List: How Hollywood's Buzziest Scripts Get Their Juice", Entertainment Weekly, December 10, 2008.
  8. ^ Ben Child, "Hollywood's 'Black List' of best unproduced scripts of 2011 revealed", The Guardian, December 13, 2011.
  9. ^ "Black List Films". The Black List. Retrieved 2016-03-05. 
  10. ^ David Haglund, "The Mostly Dull-Sounding Screenplays on This Year’s 'Black List'", Slate, December 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "Franklin Leonard's Black List can help green-light screenplays". 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2014-12-15. 
  12. ^ The Black List
  13. ^ Hollywood Reporter
  14. ^ Amazon Studios
  15. ^ Variety

External links[edit]