The Oscars proved golden for Lionsgate, the Santa Monica-based mini-major whose “La La Land” took home six Academy Awards on Sunday, the most of any movie this year. But it was indie distributor A24 that stole the show with “Moonlight,” which scored three awards including a surprise win for best picture.
The victory for “Moonlight” topped off a strong night for smaller and nonconventional industry players including Amazon, which scored its first Oscar wins ever with “Manchester by the Sea,” which won two awards — including lead actor Casey Affleck and the original screenplay by Kenneth Lonergan — and Iran’s “The Salesman,” which won for foreign language film.
Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty are onstage and about to read the Oscar winner for best picture.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz points to "Moonlight” as being the winner of the best picture Oscar.(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Jordan Horowitz, producer of “La La Land,” shows the envelope revealing “Moonlight” as the true winner for best picture.(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz hands over the best picture award to “Moonlight” writer-director Barry Jenkins after a presentation error onstage.(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
“Moonlight” cast members Mahershala Ali and Trevante Rhodes hug after winning Best Picture for “Moonlight.”(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Oscars telecast host Jimmy Kimmel, left, with Warren Beatty, who explains how "La La Land” was mistakenly announced as best picture winner instead of “Moonlight” at the 89th Academy Awards.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the name of the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on.(Chris Pizzello/Invision / Associated Press)
“Moonlight” actor Mahershala Ali, left, with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone after it was discovered that “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as best picture onstage.(Kevin Winter / Getty Images)
Ryan Gosling, right, stands with arms folded as Emma Stone congratulates Mahershala Ali of "Moonlight.”(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)
Ryan Gosling of “La La Land” reacts as the true winner for best picture is announced.(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)
Janelle Monae, center, celebrates after coming onstage once the best picture mix-up was announced.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Barry Jenkins, left, and producer Adele Romanski appear both stunned and celebratory after “Moonlight” won the Oscar for best picture.(Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images)
Barry Jenkins, front left, and the cast accept the award for best picture for “Moonlight.”(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)
Cast and crew of both “Moonlight” and “La La Land” are onstage.(Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images)
“La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz, left, speaks to a Oscars show producer, who is reading the winners card after “La La Land” mistakenly was announced as best picture winner instead of “Moonlight.”(Mark Ralston / AFP / Getty Images)
Netflix also won its first Oscar Sunday with the documentary short “The White Helmets,” about aid workers in Syria and Turkey.
Among the six major studios, Disney fared the best, with four Oscars, including a win for the animated “Zootopia.” Warner Bros. scored two statuettes, as did Paramount, including a supporting actress win for Viola Davis in “Fences.”
The New York-based A24 solidified its position as a major awards player with the best-picture win for “Moonlight.” The critical darling about a gay black man coming of age also won Oscars for supporting actor Mahershala Ali and adapted screenplay.
A24 was founded in 2012 and has gained attention for releasing challenging and critically acclaimed movies. This year, it also released “20th Century Women” and “The Lobster,” both of which earned screenplay nominations.
Last year, the indie company had three wins with “Room,” “Ex Machina” and the documentary “Amy.”
It was still a banner year for Lionsgate, which took home a total of eight statuettes for the evening, including two technical Oscars for “Hacksaw Ridge,” which was also up for best picture. Lionsgate was also behind best-picture nominee “Hell or High Water.”
“La La Land,” which was released through Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label, has so far grossed more than $140 million domestically since opening in December. It has taken in more than $342 million worldwide.
Lionsgate took home a best picture statuette for Paul Haggis’ “Crash” in 2005. Summit Entertainment previously scored a best picture win with “The Hurt Locker” in 2010, before the company was acquired by Lionsgate in 2012.
ESPN Films won its first Oscar on Sunday for the documentary feature “OJ: Made in America,” a nearly eight-hour examination of Simpson’s life and how his double-murder trial in 1995 was a product of L.A.’s complex racial history. The production company is majority owned by Disney.
At last year’s ceremony, Warner Bros. took home the most Oscars thanks to the six wins for “Max Max: Fury Road.” The best picture winner “Spotlight” was distributed by the indie house Open Road Films.