Best Documentary has evolved into one of the most anticipated categories at this Sunday’s Oscar ceremony because of one man: Banksy. The famous street artist and director of the nominated film Exit Through the Gift Shop prefers to keep his identity a secret so the instant the film was nominated, certain questions began to arise. Would Banksy show up to the Oscars? Would he plan some kind stunt? Would he show up in a monkey mask? Well, that last scenario was Banksy’s plan but now the street artist has flat out been denied by the Academy for fear of “copycat gatecrashers” both on the red carpet and on stage should he win. (Which just might happen, due to the film’s weekend win of the Eddie for Best Editing of a Documentary.)

In even more disheartening Banksy news, several of his latest works that popped up in the Los Angeles area have been removed or defaced. We’ve got the details and videos after the jump, plus we discuss why the Oscars actually need Bansky.

For anything Bansky relate to happen at the Oscars on Sunday, Exit Through the Gift Shop first has to defeat Inside Job, Gasland, Restrepo and Wasteland. That would be a feat unto itself. However, as Nothing But the Doc points out, of the last five Oscar winners for Best Documentary, only one didn’t win the Eddie for Best Editing (the exception would be Taxi to the Darkside, which wasn’t even nominated.) So since Exit won that award, it seems to be leading the pack.

“And the Oscar goes to….Exit Through the Gift Shop.” Here’s where the fun begins. If that happens, according to Entertainment Weekly, Banksy’s reps asked if he could accept on stage in the monkey mask and were turned down flat. The quote we ran two weeks ago from The Wrap pretty much tells the tale:

The fun but disquieting scenario is if that film wins and five guys in monkey masks come to the stage all saying, ‘I’m Banksy!’ Who the hell do we give it to? [The Academy] needs to have a procedure in place.

At that time, things still weren’t set but as the Oscar organizers thought more about it, they began to worry about “copycat gatecrashers” according to the UK’s Metro. So yeah, if the film wins, the producers are going to have to accept.

The scary thing is, as Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly put it in a recent editorial, the potential of Banksy at the Oscars is just what the watered-down show needs. Here’s an excerpt, but read the rest of the great piece here:

What strikes me most about this decision is how shortsighted and unfair the Academy is being…to itself. The organization’s executives think that they’re doing preemptive damage control, but what they’re really doing is blowing a rare opportunity. Because a little dose of Banksy is exactly what Hollywood, and the Academy Awards, need. It’s just what the doctor ordered to wake up a notoriously too-staid ceremony.

The Oscars take place on Sunday, and we know that the artist has been in Los Angeles, hypothetically preparing to attend. He completed at least four brand new works last week which we highlighted here. However, as is the unfortunate case with street art, bad things tend to happen.

My favorite of his new pieces, Crayola Shooter, was defaced over the weekend. (Notice that the culprit tried to play it off as the work of MBW, Mr. Brainwash.)

Thanks to LA Weekly for the photo. But reports are that not only will it be cleaned but Urban Outfitters, the store the piece is on, is urging the building owner to keep it up.

The hilarious Disney influenced billboard was taken down by the company that owns the space, but all is not yet lost. Here’s a video thanks to Huffington Post.

According to the LA Times, Light Group, who owned the ad that was defaced, now has the piece and plans to put it up on display in Las Vegas. So that’s cool.

Finally, the Charlie Brown arsonist (that I walked right by last Monday and chuckled at before realizing it was a Banksy) was removed and put on eBay apparently selling for over $8,000. Here’s a video thanks to Posters and Prints Blog.

It seems that life as an anonymous graffiti artist never gets boring.

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