Fashion disaster? Downpour douses Oscars red carpet

Sat Mar 1, 2014 5:07pm EST
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By Mike Davidson

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The most glamorous of all runways, the 500-foot-long Oscars red carpet, might be a fashion disaster on Sunday.

A rare heavy rain storm on Friday in Southern California has soaked parts of the red carpet laid down on Hollywood Boulevard, where movie stars and Tinseltown powerbrokers will make their grand entrance to the Academy Awards, film's highest honors.

Dozens of workers spent the morning securing the red carpet from the pelting rain and overflowing street gutters 48 hours before hundreds of attendees will parade designer gowns, extravagant jewels and tailored tuxedos.

Workers cleared pools of water that had collected atop the tent built to shield stars from the rain while others hustled to plug any leaks and a team wielding squeegees pushed standing water out of the protective plastic over the red carpet.

"It has been a challenge, a lot of water in a short amount of time," said Joe Lewis, the associate producer of arrivals for Hollywood's biggest night. "There is no perfect science to (a) rain plan. It is going to rain, there is going to be water, we have got to protect as best we can."

The rain began in Los Angeles on Thursday evening and according to the National Weather Service is not expected to let up until Sunday morning, hours before Hollywood's movie stars begin their walk across the red carpet at 3 p.m. PST (2300 GMT).

"I think the carpet is probably wet underneath us, which is going to be a problem in a couple days," said Doug Neal, the stage manager of the Oscars red carpet show. "But we are well protected. They have put this up a few days ago so I think we will be alright."

While the rain is a welcome sight for many in California, which is mired in its third year of a debilitating drought, high winds and debris caused road closures, power outages and about 1,000 homes in the Los Angeles area were ordered to be evacuated due to possible mudslides.   Continued...

A worker brushes water off the red carpet during preparations for the 86th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, March 1, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson