Three days before the Academy Awards, on Thursday a life-sized Oscar statuett appeared on Hollywood Boulevard doing lines of cocaine on all fours right down the street from where some of Hollywood’s brightest will surely be doing the same, albeit more discreetly, at today’s glitzy annual trophy show. Street artist – popularly known as the ‘Plastic Jesus’ or ‘Banksy of L.A.’ pulled a similar stunt last year with a piece slamming Hollywood’s heroin problem following the shocking death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman—a life-sized Oscar trophy welcoming onlookers to the biggest night in entertainment with a needle sticking out of its arm.
This year, Plastic Jesus wanted to shine a light on the abuse of the more social drugs that will be fueling Hollywood’s late-night post-Oscars after-parties hosted by Elton John and Vanity Fair. “Everybody knows about cocaine, and everybody knows somebody who does cocaine on a regular basis, but it’s just not discussed. Somebody out there is doing a shitload of cocaine and (the War on Drugs) is costing $40 billion a year. It’s just swept under the carpet”, stated the former photo-journalist from London – Plastic Jesus.
Not all of L.A. is as ready to cast as critical an eye on the toxic star machine that drives the industry. Installed by Plastic Jesus and two assistants early Thursday morning, the figure the Internet instantly dubbed “Cocaine Oscar” shocked and delighted many a bystander at the intersection of Hollywood and La Brea, where the city shuts down traffic during Oscar Week to accommodate the red carpet circus in front of the Dolby Theater.
“Charlie” – the coke-snorting Oscar statuette will be moved to a new location in front of an Urban Outfitters store. He’ll eventually be moved to L.A.’s LAB ART gallery and put on display alongside 2014’s smack shooting Oscar, currently for sale for $25,000.