Need to know: The damage

How much does it cost to attend the Oscars? Quentin Fottrell on the price of fame
When the galaxy's biggest movie stars emerge from their stretched limousines tomorrow night and glide along the plush red carpet to the 71st Academy Awards, remember that being primped to within an inch of your life takes cunning and long-term planning. Top hairstylists are booked up months in advance, and Harry Winston of Rodeo Drive does not lend his jewels to any Whoopi, Cate or Oprah. The event itself, from caterers to security firms, is a thriving seasonal industry generating thousands of jobs and up to $70 million (pounds 43.7 million) in revenue, judging by last year's event. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences receives a staggering pounds 11.3m from the ABC network for worldwide broadcast rights, and makes nearly pounds 6m profit after the pounds 5.5m show is paid for. If you want to be watched by a billion people, expect to fork out this kind of money.

Wardrobe Assuming you're not famous enough to attract an Oscar-night media blitz, and so have to buy your own ensemble, pounds 1,500 (to shine with confidence, think minimalist Prada or Chanel; alternatively, you could do a Sharon Stone and wear a Gap T-shirt); shoes, pounds 150

Twinkle, twinkle, movie star When Brenda Blethyn was nominated for her Oscar in Secrets & Lies, she was lent free of charge a Harry Winston 122- carat diamond necklace worth pounds 893,000 ($1.5m) and matching diamond earrings worth pounds 179,000. If you're not on Harry's hit-list, try a pair of costume diamante-trimmed sunglasses, pounds 6

Big Hair Day On Oscar night, Hollywood's top salons are chaotic, so expect prices to soar, about pounds 250; manicure and pedicure before you leave, pounds 35 and pounds 45 respectively; make-up, about pounds 80

Extras Limousine rental, up to pounds 1,562 for a Bentley Azures; pounds 350 in a brown paper bag for the limo driver to keep tight-lipped about your private pre-Oscar sniping; a room at the Beverly Hilton, about pounds 200; first-class return flight to LA, pounds 4,423

Animated accessory Although Matt Damon and Ben Affleck brought credibility to escorting mommie dearest to the Oscars, your dad may not give you the right look. Try an escort agency for a George Clooney or Leonardo Di Caprio lookalike, pounds 1,000. Tip not included

Total pounds 9,601