Los Angeles counts the cost of Golden Globes cancellation

Writers' strike means thousands of the city's workers miss out on $80m bonanza – and the Oscars may be next
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The Independent US

Hollywood may be just hours away from learning who has picked up a coveted Golden Globe award, but Tinseltown will be in no mood for celebrating when the winners are finally announced. For the film capital is in mourning.

The cancellation of the glitzy red carpet ceremony, in deference to America's striking scriptwriters, carried a heavy financial penalty for the Los Angeles economy and all the thousands caught up in the annual awards season hype.

LA alone will lose out on $80m (£40.8m) that would otherwise have been spent in the city's hotels on parties and the general razzmatazz that goes with a major movie industry event. The TV networks, Hollywood paparazzi, celebrity dressers, limo drivers, make-up artists, hair stylists and even waiters and waitresses will all lose out because of the decision not to go ahead with tonight's ceremony at the Beverly Hilton.

And there could be worse to come. Should the stand-off between the Writers Guild of America and the TV studios force the Academy to scrap its prestigious Oscars bash on 24 February, then Jack Kelsey, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp, has warned the move will cost the city a further $130m.

Phillip Bloch, Hollywood stylist to stars such as Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry, admitted yesterday: "I believe that the Oscars are in serious trouble."

His words will strike fear into the heart of one industry above all others: fashion. These days, designers live and die by the red carpet. The right shot of the right actress wearing the right dress can be worth millions of dollars in free publicity.

Valentino's spokesman Carlos de Souza has put the value of dressing a winner – such as Julia Roberts, who won an Oscar in 2001 for Erin Brockovich – in one of its gowns at $25m. For Chanel, getting Nicole Kidman in its pale pink chiffon dress a year later was worth more than $10m in the US alone. And pictures of Halle Berry wearing a gold Elie Saab number, also in 2002, catapulted the then unknown Lebanese designer into the mainstream. "That's the golden opportunity. That's history. That picture will run for eternity," said Bloch.

Tom Kolovos, who also dresses stars, warned: "The biggest losers are the young designers like Zac Posen. Getting Gwyneth Paltrow in his dress last year got him a lot of publicity. It's like taking free ads out internationally for a month."

The stylists themselves can miss out on up to $10,000, while the top make-up artists would hope to get $2,000 to $3,000. Pati Dubroff, Dior celebrity make-up artist, said: "It's a personal nightmare and one that is very widely felt too. There are so many industries and people affected."