As the heaviest rains in more than 100 years continue to punish Los Angeles with floods and mudslides, some Angelenos are wondering if the devilish storms have more to do with the wrath of God than a persistent bulge in the jet stream. For celebs set to step out on Oscar night, the biblical weather presents its own tricky conundrum: how to look one's best on the red carpet, even as the heavens rain down.
Some wonder: would a best pic nod to "Passion of the Christ" calm the heavens?
By Russell D'Arby, Entertainment Correspondent
LOS ANGELES—For seven days and seven nights, residents of this city named for angels have been punished with weather seemingly sent by the devil himself. A deadly series of storms across southern California has spawned everything from thunderbolts to tornadoes, washing out freeways with steady rain and sending torrents of mud crashing through homes. Earlier this week, a section of the Hollywood Freeway had to be shut down for several hours, because it was submerged beneath as much as 5 feet of water.
With no end in site, some Angelenos are beginning to think about building an ark—or hiring day laborers to construct one for them. And just about everyone in La La Land is asking the same question: what did we do to deserve this?
And the nominees are: rain, rain and more rain
Meteorologists are blaming the deadly storms on a persistent pattern in the jet stream in which moisture laden air from the southerly flow meets up with cold Canadian air, and the resulting precipitation lets loose on southern California. But not everyone buys that explanation.
|Tips for the Red Carpet|
These tips from celebrity consultant Dee Cee Maravelo will make sure would-be winners are red-carpet ready—no matter what the fates have in store.
Go Sleek—For hair that's guaranteed to turn heads, Maravelo is recommending sleek updo's, graceful chignons and neatly coiffed bobs. Why? Last year's tousled looks are too easy for locusts and other winged creatures to nest in.
Avoid Fashion Disasters—Nothing makes a 'worst-dressed' list faster than a rain-soaked Cavalli or mud-splattered Dior. Maravelo is encouraging her clients to select rain and wind-proof fabrics in shades that mimic the disaster-wracked landscape. "Earth tones are very popular this year."
Adapt—How to handle a plague of frogs or locusts with savoir faire? Incorporate these natural accessories into your Oscar gown, says Maravelo. "Remember Bjork's swan dress in 2001? I predict that we're going to be seeing a lot of locust lace this year."
Be Choosy—Oscar hopefuls will be showered with thousands of dollars worth of goodies this year, but they should select carefully, says Maravelo, lest they end the night aboard an ark. One good choice: the Philips Sonicare and Crest Intelli-Clean system toothbrush, packaged in a limited-edition rhinestone-studded case.
Roy DeLong, pastor of the Spring Hill Baptist Church in Spring Hill, KS, is a close observer meteorological forecasts—and of biblical prophecy. He says that he first began to notice an ominous shift in the weather pattern over southern California in early February. "Coincidentally, that was about the same time that the Oscar nominations were announced," says DeLong, who until recently served as the head of the Baptist Leadership Council. "The next day the skies open and you could tell He was not pleased."
A pass on "Passion," then the floodgates opened
While prominent social conservatives have been quick to criticize many of this year's Oscar nominees as offensive to traditionalists and so-called 'values voters,' Mr. DeLong says that he's not as concerned with the films that made the list as the One that was left off.
"When they passed on Passion, that's when I knew that a terrible fate was going to befall the city of Los Angeles," says DeLong, referring to Mel Gibson's masterpiece that chronicles Jesus Christ's last days on earth. "And sure enough, the rains came, He hurled down thunderbolts, and sent the homes of the nonbelievers sliding down cliffs and into sink holes."
Star Jones, Melissa Rivers and a plague of locusts
For the celebrities who will soon be making the march down the red carpet, the near biblical weather events that have caused millions of dollars in damage and killed at least nine people represent more than just a soggy inconvenience. These Oscar hopefuls—and their glamorous supporters—must move beyond the death and destruction and select gowns and formalwear, get coiffed, shod and manicured, all the while wondering what the heavens have in store for them on Oscar night.
Fashion consultant Dee Cee Maravelo, who frequently advises top tier celebrities on how to dazzle on the catwalk, says that she's telling her clients to dress their best—but prepare for the worst. "This is the biggest night of the year for these folks. Not only do they have to face down a gauntlet of vengeful media. Now they have to be prepared for storms of frogs and fishes, plagues of locusts, you name it."
Maravelo says that she's advising her clients to prepare for possible wrath from above by selecting rain-proof fabrics and choosing sleek hairstyles in which it is more difficult for locusts and other winged creatures to nest.
For the winner, a rapturous night
For his part, Pastor DeLong is still praying that "The Passion of the Christ" will get a last minute reprieve come Oscar night. "All it would take is some sort of recognition that 'Passion' was the best film of the year and I'm fairly certain that California could kiss this hellish weather goodbye."
And if the rapture were to occur on Sunday night, signaling that true believers were, at long last, being summoned home? Such an event is unlikely to have much of an impact on the Academy Awards. This is one show nearly guaranteed to play to a full house—rapture, or no rapture.