Will Enigmatic Oscar Nominee Banksy Attend the Ceremony?
4:53 PM PST 2/19/2011 by Annie Yuan
Although the jury is still out on whether Oscar-nominated graffiti artist Banksy will appear at the Academy Awards ceremony next week, one thing's for certain: the rumors that Oscar reps told him to stay away are false."We like to have the nominees with us," the Academy's executive director Bruce Davis told the Associated Press. "We kind of like to know who we're giving an Oscar to, but I think we can handle that if his film should win -- and remember, there are four other contenders here." Banksy's directing debut, Exit Through the Gift Shop, is nominated for best documentary along with Restrepo, Gasland, Inside Job and Waste Land. The film chronicles the history of street art and the rise of the artist known as Mr. Brainwash. Banksy, according to Gift Shop, was actually one of the subjects of the film but took over as director as the project progressed. Although Banksy primarily displays his artwork on public surfaces, celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have spent thousands of dollars to purchase prints of his work. Banksy made waves when he debuted new graffiti drawings around Los Angeles last week. One piece, a billboard that Banksy covered with a drunken Mickey and Minnie Mouse, was quickly taken down by CBS Outdoor. Other creations include Charlie Brown smoking a cigarette on Sunset Boulevard and a small child shooting crayons from a machine gun in Westwood. Banksy's visit to Los Angeles may suggest that he's considering attending the Academy Awards despite his cheeky disdain for award ceremonies. He said in a statement after his 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." Banksy has never shown his face in public. In Exit Through the Gift Shop, he conceals his features and digitally alters his voice. "Banksy and his folks are keeping things very mysterious," Davis said. "We certainly are expecting the producer of the film to be with us, Jaimie D'Cruz, but I would not be surprised if Banksy were in the audience as well — but I don't think he's going to be wearing a name tag, so it may not be clear."