Kyle Killen's 'Beaver' tops 2008 Black List

'Oranges,' 'Low Dweller' also among this year's choices

The 2008 Black List, an unofficial compendium of the "most liked" screenplays of the past year, was released Wednesday morning. In the top slot was Kyle Killen's "The Beaver," which has been heating up the buzz circuit for the past few months.

Filling out the top five positions are "The Oranges," by Jay Reiss and Ian Helfer; "Butter," by Jason Micallef; "Big Hole," by Michael Gilio; and "The Low Dweller," by Brad Inglesby.

What began as a holiday reading list anonymously compiled by development executive Franklin Leonard (now director of development at Universal Pictures) based on the recommendations of industry friends has bloomed into a kind of bellwether for hot, relatively unknown screenwriters.

Each year, the list of voters has grown, and this year includes more than 250 film executives of varying ranks who recommended as many as 10 of their favorite reads of the year. While well-known names like William Monahan, Richard Price, Quentin Tarantino and Scott Frank made this year's list, most of the scribes are newer to the industry and often benefit from the Black List boost.

Past high-ranking Black List nominees have included Diablo Cody ("Juno"), Nancy Oliver ("Lars and the Real Girl") and Danny Strong ("Recount").

Killen, whose script about a despondent man who finds comfort in a beaver hand puppet has attracted the interest of Steve Carrell, is repped by WMA and Anonymous Content, which is producing the film.