Wily Brit street artist and documentary filmmaker Banksy is in Los Angeles, grabbing attention for himself as only Banksy can. That doesn't mean that he does public appearances, or in-person interviews (here's a good email exchange), or shows up at the Academy luncheon. No, he's putting up art, all over the city. And that is getting media attention that mentions his Oscar-nominated doc Exit Through the Gift Shop, which some Oscar pundits think could beat Inside Job for the win. When he was nominated, Bansky put out a statement: "This is a big surprise. 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. The last time there was a naked man covered in gold paint in my house, it was me."
This disputed image --at La Brea and San Vicente in Los Angeles -- is not Banksy's (his publicist confirms that it's from his movie subject, Mr. Brainwash). Follow that debate here. The below images are indeed Banksy, from LA, and are featured on Banksy's website. Here's more.
The Academy had indicated that it not want the notoriously shy artist to send some other rep or even himself in disguise to accept the award on Oscar night. UPDATE: Now the Academy's Bruce Davis tells AP that they are in discussions with Banksy's reps about how to handle it if he wins. (Establishing his identity if he accepts seems to be the issue.) And Banksy is welcome to attend the ceremony along with his producer (a source told me that they do not plan to attend). "Weird stuff happens on the show, and that's the stuff people remember," said Davis. "If that film should win and if something unusual transpires, that is not a bad thing for the Academy Awards."
Unfortunately, some of Banksy's art is being destroyed as well. See the video: