What do Michelle Yeoh’s hotdog fingers, Brendan Fraser’s dramatic physical transformation and Paul Mescal’s divorced dad energy all have in common?
Well, for one, they’ve all been widely recognised by the Academy with their respective films – Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Whale and Aftersun – up for a swag of Oscar nominations.
But more impressive is that these films belong to a single production company. It’s not one of the “big five” – Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Walt Disney Pictures, and Columbia Pictures, nor is it a streaming heavyweight like Apple or Netflix.
Michelle Yeoh stars as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once. The A24 film earned an impressive 11 nominations.Credit:Roadshow
When the dust settled on this year’s Oscar nominations, independent studio A24 emerged as the most nominated single studio, with 18 total nods across six movies.
That includes best picture nominee Everything Everywhere All At Once, which led all films with 11 total nominations, as well as The Whale (actor, supporting actress, and makeup and hairstyling), Aftersun (actor), Causeway (supporting actor), Close (international film), and Marcel the Shell With Shoes On (animated feature).
While this year’s nomination haul, especially the success of Everything Everywhere All At Once, represents a high point for the company, it is all part of a plan ten years in the making.
A24 was formed in New York in 2012 by three men, Daniel Katz, David Fenkel, and John Hodges, who had orbited the film world but grew disillusioned with major studios’ limitations.
At that time, Katz, who got his start at Lionsgate Films, was heading up the film finance arm at Guggenheim Partners, a global investment firm, and helped back The Social Network and Twilight.
He convinced his former employers to throw in a few million dollars in seed money to get A24 off the ground.
“There are all these really, really smart, capable, ambitious people that love movies, and they were like the third guy at the company,” Katz told GQ in an interview.
“I feel there was a huge opportunity for something where the talented people could be talented.”
They set about making buzz-worthy films with buzz-worthy directors, early projects like Spring Breakers, directed by Harmony Korine, and The Bling Ring, helmed by Sofia Coppola, offering a glimpse into the A24 blueprint.
One of A24’s earliest surprise hits was crime comedy Spring Breakers. Left to right – Rachel Korine, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson.Credit:A24
In its ten years, A24 has released more than 100 films spanning every style, from the Safdie brothers’ tense crime caper Good Time, psychological period thrillers like The Lighthouse and The Witch, and absurd comedies like Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster.
The genre didn’t matter so much, with A24 focusing more on developing a recognisable style and tone: eccentric, offbeat, dark, idiosyncratic and tense.
As Barry Jenkins, director of Oscar-winning film Moonlight (released by A24 in 2016), told GQ: “A24’s the kind of company where they say, “Yeah, they don’t need to know what it’s about. They just need to know how it feels.”
The studio’s style has become so ubiquitous that the term “A24 vibes” has become a popular way of describing films that fit the aesthetic.
While A24’s body of work is accessible to everyone, the company has made a concerted effort to focus on films for a younger audience.
Coming-of-age films like Eighth Grade (by millenial poster boy Bo Burnham), Lady Bird and The Florida Project, plus social-media driven satire like Share and last year’s Bodies Bodies Bodies, all speak to a generation who are keen to see themselves reflected on screen.
It should also come as no surprise that in recent years A24 has moved into television, with its most successful show being the widely celebrated teen drama, Euphoria.
Of course, A24 is not the first indie company to make arthouse-style content for a young audience, but it shows remarkable staying power in a volatile industry.
Much of that comes down to the studio’s relationship with its fans, capitalising on hype-building techniques that worked so successfully for youth-orientated brands like Supreme.
A24 runs limited edition merchandise drops via their online store to coincide with their film releases. Stock is limited, and once it’s gone, A24 fans scour the internet (there is a subreddit devoted to the brand, naturally), trying to get their hands on it.
They are currently selling a line of Everything Everywhere All At Once merchandise, including Michelle Yeoh multiverse pins and a Pet Rock.
The popularity of their drops encouraged the company to take the next logical step, creating A24 All Access, an exclusive online club. For US $5 a month, members are added to A24’s Close Friends list on Instagram while also getting early access to product drops and a subscription to an A24 zine produced in-house.
Now, A4 could seal their place in history and cap off a dizzying ten-year journey by sweeping the Oscars. Michelle Yeoh and Brendan Fraser are warm favourites in their respective categories, while Everything Everywhere All At Once is widely tipped to take out Best Picture and Best Director.
The closer we inch to the ceremony, there’s a good chance this year’s Academy Awards will have major “A24 vibes.”
A cultural guide to going out and loving your city. Sign up to our Culture Fix newsletter here.
Culture stories that start conversations
We can’t get enough of TV shows and movies like White Lotus, Triangle of Sadness and The Menu. Is it because we want to mercilessly send up the rich and privileged, or because we are them?
Emma Sullivan is an Australian filmmaker who thought she was making a documentary about a Danish inventor. Little did she realise she was filming a psychopath who was in the midst of planning, and then murdering, a female journalist.
Assessing how well Australian films have done is tricky, but there is no doubt that box office sales in Australia are way down. Why aren’t we going to cinemas anymore?
Most Viewed in Culture
From our partners
Source: Read Full Article