By Nicole Sperling and Rebecca Keegan
7:54 PM EST, February 24, 2013
In an inauspicious beginning to the 85th Academy Awards, an apparent overflow in the women's restroom on the second floor of the Dolby Theatre prompted a scramble by at least a half dozen workers to tackle the mini-flood less than 45 minutes before the Oscar telecast began.
Access to the second floor of the theater was temporarily blocked as the workers, in black pants and suit jackets, used wet-vacs and squeegees to soak up the water from the green-and-tan patterned carpets.
The employees used what witnesses described as two home-sized wet-vacs and a larger machine, the size of a lawn mower, to complete the job.
Attendees were shuttled from the second-floor bar down to the first floor to quench their thirst at the lobby refreshment counter while the mess was cleaned up.
The water complicated other preparations for the evening when backstage, two prop men wearing white gloves pushed a cart full of Oscars to stage right and began polishing the gold trophies and marking them with white tags bearing their serial numbers.
As the little gold men backed into their usual parking spot in the wings, the prop men noticed something amiss: an open stage door. "The guys who lock that door are involved in a flood in the bathroom," a woman on the crew informed them.
Copyright © 2013, Los Angeles Times