Banksy scores Oscar nomination for ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’
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As Culture Monster reported earlier this month, the British street artist known as Banksy was looking like a probable Academy Award nominee for his work on the documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop.’ On Tuesday morning, our prognostication proved correct when Banksy, along with producer Jaimie D’Cruz, received a nomination in the documentary feature category. This means that the anonymous artist will be invited to attend the Feb. 27 ceremony at the Kodak Theatre. Whether or not he will show up is another matter altogether.
‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ is one of five nominees this year in the documentary feature category. The others are: ‘Restrepo,’ ‘Gasland,’ ‘Inside Job’ and ‘Waste Land.’ Banksy is widely accepted to be the director of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop,’ though he is not formally credited as such in the movie.
A street artist whose work is widely prized by museums, collectors and galleries, Banksy has kept his exact identity a secret from the media, preferring to operate under the radar in cities around the world. ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ tells the story of a Los Angeles-based French artist named Thierry Guetta who attempts to make a documentary on street artists featuring Banksy. But part way through the movie, Banksy decides to use Guetta’s footage to fashion his own documentary.
Speculation is rampant that ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ may in fact be a hoax -- that is to say, a faux-documentary in which all is not as it appears. But apparently, this has not bothered the nominating voters of the academy’s documentary branch. The movie is also nominated for a BAFTA award in the category of outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer. Earlier this month, a seller on EBay claimed to have discovered the identity of Banksy using tax records and was offering to sell the information to the highest bidder. But the auction was pulled before it concluded. In an e-mail, a person claiming to be the seller said he had been paid off but could not reveal any further information.
In any case, congratulations to Banksy -- whoever, whatever and wherever you are -- on your Oscar nomination.
-- David Ng