Is This the First Wave of Banksy's Street-Art Oscar Campaign?

BanksyD.jpgStreet artist, notorious recluse, and Oscar-nominated documentarian Banksy may not be doing much in-person press as his Exit Through the Gift Shop gears up to take on the Academy Awards - but is he campaigning nonetheless? Take a look at the Oscar-themed mural that popped up this week in Los Angeles featuring a Banksy-esque Oscar statuette and an army of Storm Trooper guards/production assistants/talking heads.

The mural is located on La Brea Ave. in the same space as this similarly Oscar-themed Marion Cotillard piece from 2008 and depicts a Banksy figure-as-Oscar statuette looming at the end of a red carpet flanked by armed Storm Troopers. Cut-out Storm Troopers also line the rooftop, staring down passersby.

For argument's sake, let's say this is an authentic Banksy work. What is he trying to say? That the Academy Awards and the media are run by an evil empire of faceless, mechanical thugs? (Surely not!) That his Best Documentary Oscar is in the bag? (Fingers crossed!) More likely: This is the nightmare scenario in which Exit Through the Gift Shop wins the Oscar and Banksy risks trapping himself in the gilded prison of mainstream success. In other words, it's Banksy's best explanation for why he won't be showing up Oscar night but instead will probably be watching from afar, secret identity intact, keeping it real.

What do you think, keen-eyed street art-watchers? Is Banksy declaring himself, or is someone (* cough * Mr Brainwash * cough *) sending Banksy a message?

[Update: The consensus seems to be that this is the work of Mr. Brainwash. In which case, questions still abound: What's the intention, and does Banksy approve?]

(Click images for high res)

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