The Banksy Situation: How Does The Academy Give An Award To A Masked Man?

Wednesday, February 9 by

“What’s to be done with this Banksy character?” is the question of the day among the bluebloods milling about Oscar headquarters. Wherever that is.

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)

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  1. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm


    you fucking idiot. the movie is about the guy who filmed banksy, as wel as the guy who came up with “andre the giant has a posse, and how the guy who filmed him became a sensation because of it. maybe you should watch it… it was good.

    and no banksy wont be there it will be the french dude

  2. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm


    This doesnt derserve to win. Restrepo was exponentially better. All exit accomplished was to prove the hypocritical nature of these artists

  3. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm


    lets put it this way…..when paul newman finally got his oscar he didnt even show up and people knew beforehand he wasnt going to, so its not the end of the world. I wouldn’t show up if I were banksy. Im sure the queen of england will have interpol ready to tackle him once he gets on stage……..or he could “accept the award on behalf of banksy” no one would know it was really him accepting it

  4. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm

    Alec Sibilia

    you’re both idiots. this movie was just as much about banksy as it was shepard fairey and frenchman. frenchy was sitting on GOLD with that footage and made nothing out of it… that’s the point. (along with the irony behind him becoming famous) what exactly about these artists makes them “hypocritical in nature”? they may be slightly hypocritical at times but i wouldnt say the nature of these artists is hypocritical.. at all. granted i havnt seen restepo, i seriously doubt it’s as good as this movie was. this movie has some of the most valuable footage EVER in this area and the way it was presented builds an amazing story. i’ll go watch restrepo but i’m almost positive i’ll come back with the same mindset.

  5. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm


    Banksy didn’t make the movie retard

  6. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm


    Won’t matter, Restrepo is going to win.

  7. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm

    Penn Collins

    wow. did you not see the part of the movie where banksy watched the french dude’s cut of the movie, said it was unwatchable, then took all the footage and made his own movie? Kind of the tipping point of the movie. Banksy is the director. The subjects of the documentary don’t get the award, otherwise there would be penguins and refugees on the stage every year. And yeah, the documentary was kind of about banksy too.

  8. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm


    Banksy will definatly pull something clever off, he always does. As far as the frenchies movie that he showed in part of the movie i almost hd a seizure

  9. February 9, 2011 6:17 pm

    Penn Collins

    Yeah, he did.

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