Oscars' Red Carpet Economy suffers 'brutal hit' due to COVID pandemic

In a typical year, Hollywood's awards season provides work for an army of people including glam squads of hair and make-up people, of course, but also florists, limo drivers, waiters, parking attendants and so many more.

Those workers are suffering from what The Hollywood Reporter calls a "brutal hit" to their ability to make a living.

It's been called The Red Carpet Economy, where thousands work largely unseen by the public, performing all sorts of tasks.

This has been their busiest weekend of the year, until now.

"I think a lot of people are really hurting," said Eric Buterbaugh, who is known as the florist to the stars. "To be honest, I hate to say this but, it doesn't really even feel like The Oscars, really."

He is still the go-to floral designer, but right now his business must depend on gifting, for folks who send his floral designs to say "congratulations" or "thanks."

"Normally, during Oscars season we're doing four, five, six big parties and as those aren't happening this year, it's really a weird year for us," Buterbaugh said.

His famous attention to detail has kept him busy. Same with caterer Sean Heyman, but that doesn't mean business as usual.

"I had a full time assistant and she pretty much ran the office," Heyman said. "And I had to let her go."

His company fed firefighters battling last summer's blaze in the Angeles National Forest, but his big show business gig last year, feeding the crowd at The Critics Choice Awards, evaporated in 2021 when the ceremony went virtual.

"It will be a matter of starting all over," Heyman predicts. "But I like to think positive, and I think after a year or so, people will thirst for the more elaborate for what we were doing before this happened."

Mark your calendars: April 25 is Oscar Sunday. Live coverage begins Sunday morning and continues all day with special "On The Red Carpet" coverage leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. After the last award is handed out, stay with "On The Red Carpet" for continuing coverage. Be sure to follow @OnTheRedCarpet on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok for all your Oscar news and information.
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