Six photos of Michael Carl from Vanity Fair magazine

Vanity Fair’s Michael Carl, On Hosting an Award-Worthy Awards Show Party

Vanity Fair Fashion Market Director Michael Carl is not only known for his fierce social media presence, his fashion “Crushes of the Week” and his too-real video series “Carl’s Crush,” he also knows how to throw a killer party. So when Michael offered to give us the scoop on hosting an award-worthy awards show watch party, we couldn’t refuse. Read on to hear from the veteran host himself.

Anybody who’s anybody is tuning into the awards show coverage this Sunday to check out the best (and the worst)-dressed celebs, see which stars walk away with the awards and, most importantly, find out if Jennifer Lawrence manages to stay upright this time around. And what better place to watch all of this go down than from the comfort of your own home?

Back in the day, I hosted an annual awards show watch party that taught me everything I needed to know about hosting one of the biggest social events of the year. And you’re in luck A Bullseye View readers, because I’m here to share those tricks with you…plus a little gossip for good measure. 

How to: Rock the Red Carpet Coverage

Half—okay, way more than half—the fun of the awards shows is checking out the red carpet coverage before the main event. Last year’s looks from Emma Stone and Lupita Nyong’o were my own personal faves, and this year I’m ready to see what Brie Larson—the best actress favorite for her role in Room—will wear. (My money’s on Calvin Klein). But there’s no reason to let the celebs have all the fun. You can be the talk of your own party by knowing a little inside information: Jennifer Lawrence will almost definitely wear Dior, so the real question is, who will she photo bomb this year? The most coveted actresses to dress for this year’s red carpet will be Alicia VikanderBrie Larson and Saoirse Ronan—three of the biggest new stars in Hollywood. The divine Cate Blanchett will most likely wear Armani, but watch out—she may surprise us.

P.S. Having trouble with Saoirse’s name? She explained it to me like this: “Sir” Ben Kingsley and “sha.” I’ll never mess it up again.

How to: Serve Up Festive Fare 

You’re hosting a watch party...not Thanksgiving dinner. All you need are a few winning apps (and champagne, of course). Every year I would challenge my guests to bring a themed dish that tied back to one of the year’s top movies. This year, for example, they might bring bear claws for The Revenant or pasta for Brooklyn. Later in the evening, vote on the party’s best dish, and as the years go on, guests will have fun trying to outdo the past year’s champion.

If you’re in a time crunch and need some quick and easy ideas, whip up salmon mini taco cups and hot spinach and yogurt dip in 30 minutes or less.

How to: Set the Scene

As celebs take their seats this weekend at Hollywood’s Dolby Theater, set your own scene with chic and festive decorations. I like a black, white and gold theme: gold and black balloons with goldblack and white table décor set the night up right. You can find everything you need on target.com; the party will feel expensive but won’t set you back a car payment.

How to: Get in on the Conversation

Social media savants will be quick to post real-time updates from the red carpet and the show…and you know they’ll be even quicker to mock up the newest set of reaction memes (can anyone top Chrissy Teigen’s cry face of 2015?) as soon as the awards are announced. Keep up with the conversation by following @vanityfair and @carlscrush on Twitter and Instagram.

How to: Pick the Perfect Ballot

I find that Entertainment Weekly does the best job of predicting the winners. A word to the wise? Keep this little tip to yourself.

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