04/07/2003 at 01:00 AM EDT
MARCH 7: Rivers returns from the Australian rain forest after competing on the reality show I'm a Celebrity—Get Me Out of Here! She finishes in second place but bears scars: bug bites all over her legs and three bumps on her forehead. Now she must clean up and shift into full Oscar mode.
MARCH 17: Stylist Cary Fetman brings 45 dresses to Melissa's home for evaluation. Rivers tries on 20 and decides on a white sleeveless sheath by Swiss designer Akris. No extra padding is needed. "I got implants last November," says Rivers, 35, explaining that her cup size shrank from a B to an A after son Cooper was born in 2000. "They've been to the Golden Globes, but this is their first trip to the Oscars." A Harry Winston jeweler also drops by to lend a pair of $1.2 million diamond earrings.
MARCH 18: Rivers goes to esthetician Lindy O'Connell for a facial. "I like to get my skin circulating," she says.
MARCH 19: She has her underarms, bikini line and legs waxed at the Self Center in Pacific Palisades. "My lady's so fast, I can do it all in an hour and 20 minutes," Rivers says. "I'll just sit and make phone calls, except during the bikini wax. You can't talk during that!" Beverly Hills hairstylist Brant Mayfield comes to her home to touch up her color and discuss her look for the show. "I want to look totally different than I did in the jungle," she says. "Which shouldn't be too hard since I'll actually have combed my hair."
MARCH 20: On the advice of her dermatologist, Rivers cancels her regular bimonthly Botox appointment. She has woken up with a swollen right eye that has flummoxed four doctors. "Something must have bitten me in the jungle," she says. "They think it's some sort of allergic reaction."
MARCH 21: Rivers meets with seamstress Ella Mirmova to hem her gown, which she decides to accent with a Van Cleef & Arpels diamond ring and bracelets and the Harry Winston earrings. Satin Jimmy Choos and a matching handbag finish the look.
MARCH 22: Melissa is joined by Joan for an at-home manicure and pedicure. She also has a massage before going to sleep. "I have a masseuse come to the house, so I can just roll into bed," she says.
MARCH 23: Rivers meets Mom in a suite E! has rented at the Renaissance Hotel, where she's primped by hairstylist Mayfield and makeup artist Adele Fass. She gets dressed and hops into a limo bound for the Roosevelt Hotel, where mother and daughter will broadcast a red-carpetless version of their show. She brings a bag with deodorant, toothbrush, perfume and two extra pairs of underwear. "You don't want to suddenly realize you have panty lines," she says.
SHOW TIME: Though celebrity visits are minimal, the pair critique stars' arrivals on a monitor. Afterward Melissa says, "Everything seemed to work, so I'm pretty pleased."