The Little Studio That Could: How A24 Dominated the 2023 Academy Award Nominations

A24, a popular independent film distribution company turned production company, turned heads as it garnered 18 nominations for the upcoming Oscars ceremony



Independent studio, A24, has been dominating the awards seasons for the past few years following a resurging interest in indie cinema.


There has been a line drawn in the sand between blockbuster and independent film studios. Blockbuster mainstream movies used to dominate the film industry capture the attention of critics and audiences alike, but an apparent shift has been seen within the last few years. Looking at the nominations for this upcoming Academy Awards on March 12, A24, an independent film studio, received 18 nominations, topping any other production or distribution company.

Founded in 2012 by Daniel Katz, David Fenkel and John Hodges, A24 is based in Brooklyn, New York, and consistently produces high-quality cinema. The film company made waves in the entertainment industry with the 2013 hit “Spring Breakers.” With actors such as James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson, the film drew in a large teenage audience.

A24 later broke into the awards circuit and prestige film scene with the 2016 Academy Award-winning film “Room,” garnering a win for Brie Larson’s performance as Joy “Ma” Newsome. The following year, the studio received the award for best picture for the highly acclaimed film “Moonlight.”

Not only did “Moonlight” turn heads with its win from a small independent film studio, but it created an awards moment that has been engraved in history: the envelope mishap. During the 2017 Oscars broadcast, the best picture award was mistakenly given to “La La Land.” Several moments after, it became clear that the envelopes were mixed up, and “Moonlight” was the correct best picture winner. This mishap became an instant viral moment and is still talked about to this day. Regardless, that evening put A24 on the map as “Moonlight” took home the gem of the night.

Looking at the upcoming 95th Academy Awards, A24 has acquired 18 nominations, beating out all other major studios and streaming services who made waves in last year’s ceremony. Breakout film “Everything Everywhere All At Once” garnered 11 of those nominations, while other A24 films including “The Whale,” “Aftersun,” “Causeway,” “Close” and “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” covered categories such as best actor, best animated feature and more.

When interviewed by Variety, the studio made a statement of gratitude for the recognition from the academy, writing, “It’s enormously gratifying to see a film like ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ recognized in such a big way, our first nominations in the International and Animation categories and the eight wonderful actors receiving their first Oscar nominations.”

Since the historic wins for A24, the studio has managed to acquire at least one nominee at every following Academy Awards. Standouts include films such as “Lady Bird” (2017), “Minari” (2020) and “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (2022).

It’s no secret that A24 is successful among the entertainment industry and awards committees, but the real grasp it has is one on pop culture. A24 has created not only a distribution company but a brand. Its merchandise line, illustrated with a nostalgic touch, is full of stylish sweatshirts, hats and more. The studio has perfected its retro ’90s appearance, not only with its logo but with its merch as well.

Aside from the visually appealing merchandise, part of the appeal lies in the independent nature of the studio. Unlike indie-turned-blockbuster studios such as Miramax (known for “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001) and “Scream” (1996)), A24 has grown without the backing of industry giants. Fans and film enthusiasts feel connected to the message of the company and believe that they, too, can make a film distributed by a cutting-edge indie company one day.

A24 is consistently proving that with stories rooted in depth of character as well as stunning portraits of cinematography, a small independent studio can break through the noise and make a mark on the film industry moving forward.