DGA Names Spike Jonze Best Commercial Director of the Year
Spike Jonze appears during the Viceland panel at the A&E 2016 Winter TCA on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Pasadena, Calif. Jonze won the DGA Award on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019, for his Apple Homepod spot, “Welcome Home.” (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
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Spike Jonze of MJZ won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Commercials last night (2/2) during a gala ceremony at the Hollywood & Highland Center’s Ray Dolby Ballroom. Jonze topped a field of nominees which also consisted of two fellow MJZ colleagues, Steve Ayson and Fredrik Bond, Martin de Thurah of Epoch Films, and David Shane of O Positive Films.

Jonze won the DGA honor as Best Commercial Director of 2018 on the strength of a single entry: Apple Homepod’s “Welcome Home” out of TBWA\Media Arts Lab. The piece stars musician and dancer FKA twigs who is situated in her rather modest apartment--but that all changes when her Homepod speaker blares out an Anderson .Paak track titled “‘Til It’s Over.” FKA twigs breaks out into an expansive dance--while her apartment in turn expands. Her roost is transformed as the music positively impacts where her head is at.

The DGA win is the first for Jonze, who’s been nominated twice before for Guild honors--once for adidas, Miller Beer and Gap commercials in 2006, and for the feature Being John Malkovich in 1999.

In brief acceptance remarks, Jonze said, “This is humbling to be with this group of (nominated) filmmakers.” He went on to acknowledge his support team, including most notably his long-time first assistant director Thomas Smith. Jonze noted that Smith has been in his corner for some 24-plus years, describing him as “a filmmaker who’s in my head, who knows whht I need before I need it.” Jonze affirmed that Smith has been “a mentor to him,” quipping that he can even “control weather with his mind.”

Jonze’s DGA Award comes a couple of days after he appeared at the Guild’s Meet the Commercial Nominees event, along with Ayson, Bond and Shane. Nominee de Thurah couldn’t attend because he was in Denmark on a job.

During that DGA session, Jonze shared that the original idea from TBWA\Media Arts Lab for “Welcome Home” entailed an ambitiously choreographed story about “a guy in his apartment and the apartment grows.” Jonze then tweaked that premise, advocating that a female protagonist be cast instead which he thought would be more interesting and “cooler.” He credited the contributions of such colleagues as Smith, twig, choreographer Ryan Heffington, cinematographer Hoyte Hoytema, and production designer Christopher Glass. The latter’s work on the Apple Homepod ad earned him an Art Directors Guild (ADG) Excellence in Production Design Award on the same night that Jonze received the DGA Award. Jonze noted that it took about three months to bring “Welcome Home” to fruition.

Here’s the DGA breakdown of Jonze and his Guild support team:

“Welcome Home,” Apple Homepod – TBWA \ Media Arts Lab
• Unit Production Managers: Vincent Landay, Natalie Hill
• First Assistant Director: Thomas Smith
• Second Assistant Directors: Dave Marnell, Robert Kay, Nadeem Ashayer
• Second Second Assistant Director: Jeff Tavani


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