5. Joe Pytka, Pytka Productions

By Jh Published on .

After more than two decades in the business, most of it at the very top of the business, Pytka's still got it. It's been six years since he won the Palm d'Or at Cannes three years in a row and 10 since he won his third DGA Award, but his reel demonstrates that he's not only still in demand, but he's one of the very few directors who can just keep working year after year with no need to reinvent himself, since it's plain he can shoot anything. In the last year alone, he shot BBH's poignant PSA campaign for Feeding Children Better; much of BBDO's "New York Miracle" campaign; and affecting work for Disney out of Leo Burnett - a portfolio that earned him a record 14th DGA Director of the Year nomination. And while he's got the wisdom to pull off sentimental while avoiding schmaltz, he can also do Nike cool - as he did with a spot featuring Tiger Woods methodically breaking windows with a pitching wedge - and tech-savvy goofs like "The Heist" and "Codernauts" for IBM. He was also responsible for "Business Legends," last year's dialogue-driven tour de force for FedEx and BBDO that perhaps no other director could have carried off. This year's DGA nomination, moreover, was his second in three years after a three-year stretch - the longest since he was first nominated in 1981 - without a nod, suggesting Pytka may yet extend his unprecedented number of nominations, if not outright wins, in years to come.
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