Oscars 2023: A24–the Small Indie That Could–Charming Actors and Social Media Put to Good Use

Oscars 2023: A24–How Charming Actors and Savvy Social Media Elevated ‘Everything Everything Everywhere All at Once’

To win its Oscars for Everything Everywhere All at Once and The Whale, the indie studio capitalized on the underdog charisma of the films’ casts.

But some competitors complain about alleged breaches of Academy rules.


Quan would go on to a successful Oscar night for Everything Everywhere All at Once’s indie distributor, A24, which became the first studio in history to sweep the top six awards — picture, director and all four acting prizes — in a single year.

The studio’s stunning Oscar haul, which also included Brendan Fraser’s win for The Whale, owes a lot to the appeal of its actors, and to the deft deployment of their charm at screenings, events and on social media.

Michelle Yeoh in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once,' Brendan Fraser in 'The Whale,' Felix Kammerer in 'All Quiet on the Western Front'

Winners Michelle Yeohm Jamie Lee Curtis, Quan and Fraser are industry veterans who have ridden out career lows. “They focused rightly on the cast,” says a strategist at another studio. “And their actors are so lovable that you wanted good things for them. Their comeback narratives really resonated with voters.”

Some of the events and social media in support of the film fell into gray area when it comes to Academy rules, however, prompting some competitors to complain to the Academy. After Oscar nominations are announced, and until the final polls close, film companies are not permitted to invite Academy members to attend any parties or other non-screening events that promote nominated films.

A24 itself followed those rules, according to multiple sources connected with the studio, but friends of the actors hosted their own gatherings.

Academy members including Jodie Foster, Jake Gyllenhaal and Melanie Griffith threw Jamie Lee Curtis a party in Marina del Rey on Feb. 15, and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Beverly Hills hosted a dinner for Michelle Yeoh on Feb. 12 that was attended by Academy members including producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Jon Landau and directors Michael Mann and Oliver Stone.

Yeoh also shared — and then deleted — Vogue story on Instagram that noted that Cate Blanchett has “already won two Oscars.” The Academy forbids social media that singles out the competition.

“I don’t begrudge them pushing the envelope. They won it in the end and that’s all anyone’s gonna remember.” The Academy is expected to review its campaigning rules this summer.

What makes A24’s Oscar wins so remarkable is that they came on the back of a quirky, genre-straddling sci-fi comedy that opened in theaters outside the traditional awards movie launching window.

Everything Everywhere All at Once premiered not at Telluride or Cannes, but at SXSW, which is better known for its breakfast tacos than for its awards imprimatur.

After opening March 25, the film became box-office phenomenon, eventually earning more than $100 million worldwide.

Much of the A24’s campaigns for both Everything Everywhere All at Once and for Fraser relied on traditional tools, such as cast Q&As with guilds and media coverage. Strategists at Cinetic Marketing and Divergent PR coordinated those efforts, which benefited from growing and fervent fan base for the film and actors with great chemistry.

Some guild audiences would return for multiple viewings and those audiences in turn helped recruit skeptical awards voters. “It was a polarizing film,” says an executive at competing studio. “But its fans were so passionate that they were converting members who were not into it the first time they tried to watch it. People said, ‘OK, this movie has made $80 million and gotten so many nominations. I know I tried to watch it and didn’t get it, but I’m going to try again.’”

A24’s actors used well their own social media accounts, particularly Curtis, who has 5 million followers, and Yeoh, who has 1.8 million.

Curtis served as enthusiastic wing woman for Yeoh, which had the effect of reflecting well on her. “Curtis used social to her advantage in ways a lot of other nominees don’t have the skill or personality to do,” says one strategist.

This season and the results speak in such a big way about how things are changing. Social Media is just so important, which is what A24 does so well. It’s the best way to reach people now.