The image: Exit Through the Gift Shop, the film from the anonymous street artist known as Banksy, is a major contender in what is, oddly enough, shaping up to be one of this year's most exciting Oscar races: Best Documentary. Now, with the awards just over a week away, and Oscar ballots due Tuesday, pieces of Banksy-esque street art have been cropping up around Los Angeles. One depicts a child shooting a machine gun with crayons as ammunition; another, a Charlie Brown character with a gas can. There are even rumors of a possible third piece. Banksy's publicist claims the work is his client's. But you never know with Banksy. Is this his version of an Oscar campaign, or just another bizarre trick from the notorious prankster?
The reaction: Whether are not these pieces are genuine, "they are fueling the buzz," says Brian Clark at Movieline. "All aboard the Banksy Oscar train!" And really, they do seem to be the genuine article, says Nicole Sperling in the Los Angeles Times. "Though it would be rather anti-Banksy for him to participate in an Oscar campaign." Right, but maybe "this is Banksy's way of messing with" the Academy "for preemptively banning him from appearing masked onstage should he win an Oscar," says Rosie Gray in BlackBook. In that sense, it's "classic Banksy." See "Crayola Boy," below (image courtesy of Melrose and Fairfax).