From Arthouse Startup to Oscars Sweep

A little more than 10 years ago from A24‘s conception of an Italian road to his record-breaking run of 2023 Academy Awards, when it became the first studio to sweep all six major categories at the Oscars. That A24 has achieved this feat is a testament to the vision of its founders as well as a revolution in the cinematic landscape. Even before COVID-19, Hollywood studios were already leaning away from mid-budget fare to focus on starry sequels, caped crusaders, and other tentpole blockbusters, and the pandemic has only accelerated that trend. These days if a film costs between $5 million and $50 million, it’s more likely to find it on Netflix than in theaters — unless, that is, it’s from A24.

From bonkers character studies to high-concept horror, thrillers to dramas to what-the-fuck-was-that, A24 has carved out a recognizable brand by funding talent human and allowed them to cook. That attitude has led the company from arthouse beginnings to Oscars records in a short period of time. Check out the key moments from their incredible climb below.

Wren Graves

August 12, 2012: A24 was born

A Look Inside the Mind of Charles Swann III (A24)

A24 actually began to decline economically in 2008, as studios became less exciting places to work. Three film producers – Daniel Katz of Guggenheim Partners, David Fenkel of Big Beach, and John Hodges of Oscilloscope – want to return to the independent ethos of the 1990s, when filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, Paul Thomas Anderson, and the Coen Brothers revitalized the medium.

In 2012, as Katz recalls GQ, The studios have “all these real, smart, capable, ambitious people who love movies. And they’re like the third guy in the company. No one has a voice,” he says. “I feel that there is a great opportunity to create something where talent can be talent.”

During a trip to Rome driving the A24 motorway, Katz had a “moment of clarity” when he dreamed of starting a new film company. On August 12, 2012, the dream became a reality.

A24 distributed the first film, Roman Coppola’s A Look Inside the Mind of Charles Swan IIIin February of 2013. It was a big fail, got 28/100 on Metacritic before being booed from the theaters. But Katz, Fenkel, and Hodges still believe that a place “where talented people can be talented” will eventually find success. They won’t have to wait long. — WG

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