Anyone hoping for actual spontaneity at this year’s super-youthy Oscars (co-hosted by conceptual artist and occasional actor James Franco!) is out of luck. The Academy, responding to the surprising Best Documentary nomination for guerrilla artist Banksy’s Exit Through the Gift Shop, has asked the filmmaker to skip the awards ceremony if he won’t show his face. (In his own film, Banksy is shielded from the camera–his work depends on anonymity.) The Academy, which has in past years nominated Roderick Jaynes and Donald Kaufman, both fictional characters, seems congenitally unwilling to take a further step into absurdity (the Academy’s executive director frets about a winner in “a monkey mask,” a costume Banksy never threatened to wear). Life will not imitate art at this year’s Oscars, it seems–not least because the mere threat of Banksy is enough to rile up Oscar voters, and get them voting for any other movie in the category.
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