Déjà vu: MJZ’s Spike Jonze Wins DGA Commercials Award
This photo from the 2019 DGA Awards ceremony applies to this year's as well with Spike Jonze of MJZ once again winning the Guild Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials (photo by Shane Karns/courtesy of DGA).
  • LOS ANGELES
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For the second consecutive year, Spike Jonze of MJZ has won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials--this time on the strength of two entries: Med Men’s “The New Normal” from agency Mekanism; and SquareSpace’s “Dream It.”

The latter features Idris Elba lip synching to a girl crooner’s rendition of “Que Sera Sera” as he envisions the different careers he could have ranging from boxer to astronaut, chef and fighter pilot.

Meanwhile the “New Normal” for Med Men, meanwhile, a cannabis retailer with operations across the U.S., depicts the complex history of cannabis, also known as marijuana, among other names. The piece, which Jonze also narrates, chronicles society’s evolving perceptions of the plant, from pre-prohibition to the modern industry of today. While looking back through America’s history, from George Washington’s hemp farm, to Reefer Madness propaganda, “The New Normal” takes the audience on a journey through the injustices of the past and a hopeful view for the future. Jonze and actor Jesse Williams (Grey’s Anatomy) collaborated on writing the film, and saw that much of the commercial’s cast and crew had a personal real-life connection to the plant. Those individuals included military veterans who use cannabis to treat their PTSD, a former NFL football player who uses it as a substitute for opioids, victims of racial profiling and those who work in the emerging industry.

Framestore handled visual effects for “The New Normal,” which also featured the talents of Williams as an actor, Oscar-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young, and production designer James Chinlund whose credits include the recent Disney movie The Lion King.

During the DGA Awards ceremony on Saturday night (1/25) in Los Angeles, Jonze topped a field of commercial category nominees which this year also consisted of Ridley Scott of RSA Films, Fredrik Bond of MJZ, Mark Molloy of SMUGGLER, and Dougal Wilson of Furlined. 

Jonze has the distinction of being a DGA nominee across the ad, TV and feature film disciplines. He has five career DGA Award nominations--three for commercials, including last year’s win for Apple Homepod’s “Welcome Home”; one in the television Variety/Talk/News/Sports--Specials category this year for Aziz Ansara: Right Now; and another for the theatrical motion picture Being John Malkovich (1999).

Jonze’s first DGA commercial nomination came for his entries from 2006--Adidas’ “Tomorrow,” Miller Beer’s “Penguin” and Gap’s “Pardon Our Dust.” 

Here are more details on Jonze’s second straight DGA commercials win, including his assistant directors on the honored work:

OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN COMMERCIALS
SPIKE JONZE
(MJZ)

“Dream It,” Squarespace – Squarespace
• First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith

“The New Normal,” Medmen – Mekanism
• First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
• Second Assistant Directors: David Marnell, Jeff Tavani

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