This takes a little explaining. Yes, Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 83rd Academy Awards – and Banksy is the British graffiti artist and political activist, the son of a photocopier technician, who trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late eighties. Everyone remembers that. Well, maybe they don't. But out here in Hollywood, in the week before the Oscars, there was a lot of buzz. Banksy's work was popping up all over, and being ripped down just as fast. And there was the question of whether he would make an appearance at the Oscars. He has made a career of savagely mocking crass commercial popular culture, and there's nothing more crassly commercial than the Oscars. And he cultivates his anonymity, so no one knows what he even looks like. How would anyone know if he showed up? Somehow, for the whole week, he was in the background, laughing.
And his film, if it was his, didn't win the Academy Award for Best Documentary. The award went to Inside Job – the documentary about the financial crisis that ruined America. The Academy had no idea what to do with a mysterious and deliberately anonymous satirist, whose preferred medium is transitory street art anyway. They played it safe. And this is Banksy's comment on his brush with Hollywood fame – his giant mural on La Brea south of Wilshire Boulevard, photographed on the morning after the Oscars. His specialty is irony.