The 2012 Oscars are fading fast. And now is the time to apply to be a seat-filler for the 2013 ceremony. Holiday Goddess editor Vicki Arkoff discovers the secrets to attending Hollywood’s biggest night.

Unless you’ve been hired to MC the Academy Awards, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be invited to attend the grand Oscars ceremony, the annual event with more star wattage than the Milky Way. Held every February at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, California, the awards show is seen by more people around the world than any other annual event…yet only 3,401 lucky attendees have coveted seats. That’s not nearly enough for the nominees, stars, special guests and everyone who belongs to the host organization, the American Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. There are 6,000 AMPAS members so you do the math.

So what chance does a mere mortal have of getting ticket? Your odds are greater being struck by lightning while eating Dodo McNuggets and singing “Hava Nagila” with Mel Gibson at an Israeli karaoke bar. Though the only sure way to be invited to the Academy Awards is to be Meryl Streep, there actually is a glimmer of hope for the rest of us. You can apply to be a seat-filler or register to buy seats on the red-carpet to watch the stellar parade at its best.

HOW TO BECOME A SEAT-FILLER: Approximately 150 people are chosen to sit next to the very biggest celebrities in the first several rows of the Oscar event. Why? So the cameras don’t show seats left empty by celebrity presenters and winners while they’re busy on stage and behind-the-scenes. Also, believe it or not, some invitees don’t show up, and they’re not permitted to transfer or sell their tickets so the producers need “extras” on hand to act as stand-ins and watch the show with the best of the best. Just imagine. This means you might be picked to sit next to George Clooney while his date visits the ladies room. And if she ate some bad calamari you may get him for the whole night. Don’t believe it? In the live telecast of the 2012 Academy Awards, Tom Hanks paid tribute to Carl, a man in a powder blue suit and ruffled shirt who’s been a seat filler at the Oscars for 59 years. Carl happened to be filling in for Jennifer Lopez when Hanks gave him his big moment.

To apply, visit the Academy Awards website months ahead of awards season at Qualification and selection is a lengthy and highly-competitive process requiring an applications, resume, cover letter and glamor-shot photo. This is a dream gig for out-of-work actors so know that looks matter: beauty isn’t required, but only those with polished and professional appearances need apply. To increase your odds, attend smaller events as a seat-filler to beef up your resume. And build a wardrobe befitting the occasion. For the guys that means a classic tuxedo, polished shoes and a suave haircut. For the ladies make sure to do up your ‘do and have a few formal gowns and cocktail dresses to choose from.

HOW TO SIT IN THE RED-CARPET BLEACHERS: If the seat-filler process is too daunting, you might find it worthwhile to apply for one of 700 bleacher seats. This won’t get you inside the theater but instead provides an arguably better, closer show outside the theater entrance on the red-carpet. Seat-fillers aren’t allowed to speak or even make eye-contact with celebrities, but bleacher fans can scream, flirt, photograph and beg for autographs all they want. Ever imagine yourself the ingénue in “The Artist,” planting a kiss on the arriving star? Well, this is as close to that as you may get. Every arriving Oscars star will parade right by your seat, pausing for photos and interviews as they slowly make their way inside from their limo and through the gauntlet. When the 3-4 hour arrivals show is over, those with bleacher seats are then invited to a local venue to watch the telecast live. Like seat-filler tickets, bleacher seats must be requested several months in advance. In recent years, some 20,000 fans have applied, so fill out your application early – along with up to three other friends — and cross your fingers. Names are usually drawn by lottery in October, giving you plenty of time to make travel plans after you clear final security in December.

More: Read how Joshua Crouthamel became an Oscar seat-filler here

Ehow has insider tips too