2022 in Review: A24 Explodes Onto the Scene

A24 has been quietly growing over the past few years as a film distributor and producer, amassing a cult following. The company has had some big hits, most notably Moonlight, which famously won Best Picture over La La Land in 2017. The company has also distributed such indie gems as The Witch, The Florida Project, Hereditary, and Ex Machina, among others. However, there’s little doubt that 2022 was the best year yet for the burgeoning film company.

Everything Everywhere All at Once

The crown jewel of 2022 for A24 is clearly Everything Everywhere All at Once from The Daniels. The multiverse-spanning movie brought in $103.4 million for the company, the biggest box office haul ever for the indie curator.

Not only was Everything the company’s biggest movie yet, but the film was also one they themselves produced, as the studio forays more and more into production.

In addition to the major box office numbers, EEAAO has achieved critical and audience acclaim, with the film spending months atop the Letterboxd 250 narrative films and receiving numerous accolades from various awards shows.

Awards Contention

In its entire 10-year existence as a company, A24 had garnered exactly 25 Oscar nominations. That all changed Tuesday as the studio added another 18 to that number, including 11 nominations for Everything Everywhere All at Once.

The 2022 film is up for the big one, with a Best Picture nomination. Meanwhile, Michelle Yeoh appears to be in a two-horse race with Cate Blanchett for Best Actress and Ke Huy Quan is practically a lock for Supporting Actor. Both Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu also garnered nominations for Best Supporting Actress while The Daniels received nominations for their direction as well as for original screenplay.

Brendan Fraser has long been considered the frontrunner in the Best Actor race in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, but Hong Chau also managed to receive a nomination in the Supporting Actress category. The Whale also stands nominated for best hair and makeup.

Plus Paul Mescal sneaked into the Best Actor race for his performance in Aftersun and Brian Tyree Henry shocked many with his Best Supporting Actor nomination for Causeway.

And for the first time, A24 will have an animated movie in contention as well with Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Although it is a mix of live-action and claymation, it qualified for the award.

Critical Acclaim

Simply put, A24 just didn’t miss with critics in 2022. 

We’ve already reviewed the love for EEAAO and all of its awards, but critics also heavily praised many A24 movies that are not in the Oscar mix. Ti West delivered two (yes, two!) installments in a trilogy within a single calendar year, making his A24 debut with X, followed by the prequel Pearl (both starring Mia Goth).

Critics agreed on the double-shot of horror, with a 94% fresh rating for X and a 91% for Pearl. And they also hit pretty high marks for slasher films on Metacritic, with X bringing in a 79 and Pearl taking a 73. Goth brought an awards-caliber performance as Pearl in the prequel, delivering an eight-minute monologue that is one of the best scenes of any movie this year. 

Late to the party, Aftersun is making many critics’ lists as THE top film of the year. It has a 96% RT score and a whopping 95 on Metacritic. And hardly a single critic could resist Marcel the Shell, which 99% of critics agreed is fresh. Even Men and The Whale, two of A24’s more divisive films, still impressed 68 and 66 percent of critics, respectively. Far from certified fresh, but well above rotten.

Here are A24’s 2022 films ranked by their Rotten Tomatoes score:

  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – 99%
  • Aftersun – 96%
  • Everything Everywhere All at Once – 95%
  • The Eternal Daughter – 95%
  • X – 94%
  • God’s Creatures – 92%
  • Pearl – 91%
  • The Inspection – 89%
  • After Yang – 89%
  • Bodies Bodies Bodies – 86%
  • Causeway – 86%
  • Funny Pages – 83%
  • Men – 68%
  • The Whale – 66%
  • The Sky is Everywhere – 65%
  • Stars at Noon – 63%

A film’s Rotten Tomatoes score is far from the be-all-end-all, but looking at that list, 12 of A24’s 16 movies pleased more than 80% of critics. Many of those are also accompanied by high grades from audiences.

Brand Awareness

A24’s cult following has been building for years, but all of this awards talk and goodwill from critics has only amplified the company’s reach. I mean, both X and Pearl showed in my little theater fairly quickly — a welcome surprise. Hopefully, the critical acclaim and box office success of Everything Everywhere All at OnceX, The Whale, etc. leads movie lovers to give a movie a second look if it has the A24 logo attached to it.

Author: Jacob Holmes

When I'm not covering Alabama politics, you can find me watching a movie or discussing it here.