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The 2023 Black List Features Sam Bankman-Fried and ‘Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark’ – Monomaxos

The next Oscar-winning film is out there somewhere—and it may be on this year’s Black List. The 2023 Black List, a compilation of the best-liked screenplays bouncing around Hollywood that have yet to be produced, has arrived—and it’s full of stories about everything from Sam Bankman-Fried and the fall of FTX, to the making of the Broadway flop Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, to a studio executive who gets trapped inside a screenplay he passed on. 

Founded by Vanity Fair contributing editor Franklin Leonard, the Black List has been shedding light on the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood since 2005. Previous iterations have included the screenplays for The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, and Spotlight, all of which went on to best-picture Oscar wins. “This year the industry was defined by a debate about the value of writers within it, and I think it’s inevitable that this year’s Black List means more than it has in the past,” says Leonard. “I’ve been saying that writing is the lifeblood of the industry for almost 20 years now, and I’ll continue saying it until the industry actually starts acting like it. Now that the strikes are over, I look forward to these and other great scripts getting made so I can watch them as an audience member myself.”

This year’s Black List features a plethora of gritty stories based on real events, as well as fanciful fare from the deepest recesses of writers’ imaginations. Travis Braun’s script for Bad Boy, which follows a rescue dog that suspects his owner may be a serial killer, received the most votes. Next on the list is Stakehorse by Justin Piasecki, about a racetrack veterinarian who runs an off-the-books ER for criminals and finds himself in hot water after being recruited for a patient’s heist. In the third spot is the very meta Spoiler by Jordan Rosenbloom, which finds a studio executive trapped inside a screenplay he passed on.

Elsewhere on the list are nontraditional takes on literary heavyweights Edgar Allan Poe, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare. There are also scripts based on true stories, including The Adults in the Room by Jake Disch, about crypto king Sam Bankman-Fried and the rise and fall of FTX; Kazan by Chris Parizo, about the complicated relationship between titans Arthur Miller and Elia Kazan; and Patsy by Filipe Coutinho, about the life and times of country songbird Patsy Cline. And then there’s Boy Falls From Sky by Hunter Toro, about an anxious playwright tasked with bringing the notorious musical flop Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark to the stage. 

While some of the movies are higher-concept than others, the Black List stamp of approval is nothing to sniff at. Since the initiative’s inception, at least 440 scripts that made the Black List have been produced, grossing more than $30 billion at the worldwide box office. Black List movies have won 54 Academy Awards from 273 nominations, with a whopping 11 best-screenplay wins since 2007. More recently, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit and Emerald Fennell’s Promising Young Woman won best-screenplay Oscars after being featured on the Black List. And this year may see another Oscar winner added to the list, as Samy Burch’s screenplay for the Golden Globe–nominated May December was on the 2020 Black List. 

Here is the full list of scripts featured on this year’s Black List.
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