The Academy Isn’t Comfortable Giving an Oscar to Banksy for EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP

     February 10, 2011

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If elusive street artist Banksy wins Best Documentary for film Exit Through the Gift Shop at this year’s Academy Awards, how will he win?  It’s unlikely that he’ll reveal himself to everyone at the Kodak Theatre and the millions watching at home, but he should be allowed to win it on reasonable terms.  Unfortunately, Academy president Tom Sherak isn’t having it.  He tells The Wrap the he would prefer the film’s producer Jaimie D’Cruz and an executive producer accept the award on Banksy’s behalf:

“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.”

Hit the jump for why Sherak’s suggestion is silly and disrespectful.

Sherak tries to couch the situation in respect for Banksy’s anonymity, explaining:

“The reason we had that conversation was that we had to make sure we were all comfortable with what would happen if he was to win, knowing that he doesn’t want anybody to know who he is.”

If Banksy accepted wearing a mask, then what’s the big deal?  If they respect him enough to nominate him for an award, then they should respect the way he chooses to accept it if he wins.  Furthermore, the only way the Academy and the Oscar ceremony can continue to avoid irrelevance is if the show is willing to have memorable, unscripted moments.  Apparently, the Academy thinks that cutting to Jack Nicholson reaction-shots is enough to keep viewers at home entertained.

But win or lose, does anyone think that Banksy won’t respond?  The Academy can either share the spotlight he’ll throw on himself or they can be in its shadow.  It’s possible that Banksy won’t do anything either way, but I think it’s rude to nominate someone for an award and then say “You’re not dignified enough to receive it.”

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