And the Oscar Goes To...... Banksy?

Street art attributed to Banksy began popping up in Los Angeles this week
signed by Mr. Brainwash-- the tagging name of Thierry Guetta in the film Exit Through the Gift Shop
(image courtesy of Doro Design)
One of the most entertaining moments of the Oscar Awards ceremony Sunday might occur if the enigmatic street artist Banksy wins the best documentary feature film category for Exit Through the Gift Shop. Speculation has been running high for days about whether or not Banksy (who is nominated as the film's director) would attend the Oscars after officials refused him permission to attend in disguise. As the Academy's executive director stated, "The fun but disquieting scenario is that if the film wins and five guys in monkey masks come to the stage all saying, 'I'm Banksy,' who the hell do we give it to?" To add confusion to the matter, many in the press have now been openly speculating and reporting that the main character of Banksy's documentary, Thierry Guetta, is the "real" Banksy. This claim however seems both unlikely and not in keeping with Banksy's history, as blogger Alissa Walker at Fast Company argued in a great piece about Banksy last year.

With the award ceremony fast approaching, graffiti works attributed to Banksy, but signed by Guetta's tag name "Mr. Brainwash" have been appearing around Los Angeles. In Guetta's first extended interview with the LA Times published today, he maintains that the "movie is 100% real" and goes on to credit Banksy with helping to tell his story, claiming that "Banksy captured me becoming an artist... In the end, I became his biggest work of art."

We will now have to wait until Sunday to see how Banksy may have to pull off his biggest prank of all-- collecting an Academy Award without revealing his true identity. As he told the Guardian after receiving word of the nomination, "I don't agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but I'm prepared to make an exception for the ones I'm nominated for," adding: "The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me."

The following graffiti images, credited to Banksy, appeared around Los Angeles this week (images courtesy of NBC Photoblog)

Trailer for Banksy's Oscar Nominated Documentary: