The Banksy Situation: How Does The Academy Give An Award To A Masked Man?
For those who aren't familiar, Banksy is a street/graffiti artist who wound up directing, through a humorous turn of events, Exit Through the Gift Shop, a nominated documentary ostensibly about himself that stands a good chance of winning the statue for its category. Nothing terribly exciting about that, is there?
Twist: Banksy's success and efficacy as a street/graffiti artist is predicated on his identity being a secret, so he'd rather not reveal himself should he win the trophy, which means he could take unorthodox measures (bag on his head, trademark hoodie pulled over this face) to preserve his anonymity.
Well, that is NOT how things are done in the realm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! In discussing it, Academy director Bruce Davis tried to downplay the Banksy situation by calling it a "crazy-ass wrinkle" and wondering "Who the hell do we give it to?" (Whoa, easy with the profanity, Bruce), but it's pretty clear that decorum is on the mind of the Academy in this instance. It has been rumored that Banksy will, from time to time, cover his visage with a monkey mask when he needs to appear in public for whatever reason, and it would appear that those producing the Oscars would rather their award recipients not conceal their identity with ANY sorts of masks.
(Somewhere, probably working on another 'Tron' soundtrack, Daft Punk weep LED tears...)
Needless to say, the act of presenting an Oscar to a man in a monkey mask would cause a monocle-dropping pandemic the likes of which their world has never seen. Could the Oscars ever recover from an act so...so...not boring?
They're hoping it doesn't come to that. Not that he won't win, as a Banksy win could produce some credibility for an awards show that gets categorized as out of touch more and more every year. Rather, they seem to hope he doesn't show up. In fact, they don't seem to, they explicitly said it. No less than the Academy president, Tom Sherak, said to press at the nominees luncheon, "We suggested to them that it might be a good idea that if he did win, one of them would accept in his place – that it would not be dignified for the Academy to have somebody come up wearing a monkey's head." Dignified, no. Amazingly awesome, a thousand times yes.
It's uncertain how this will play out, though I'm willing to posit that Banksy will somehow stay one step ahead of the Academy on this one. Just a hunch. The Academy members don't strike me as the most nimble group of minds. Regardless, it will be interesting to see the way everyone handles themselves now that the cards are on the table. Will the Academy relent to the reputed artist? Will the Banksy show up at all? And if he does, will he make them the butt of an elaborate, clever joke? I'm hoping the answer to all three questions is "yes." (The Wrap)