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Wooing the votes on a full belly

Publicity vet Olson was known for his parties

Most Oscar vets applaud the Academy’s ongoing efforts to ensure fairness in voting through an increasingly stringent body of regulations governing the conduct of campaigns.

Among the biggest changes: parties just aren’t what they used to be, says one of the deans of awards campaigns, Dale Olson. Now in his fourth decade as a Hollywood publicist, Olson is an awards consultant for DreamWorks.

“I was known for my parties,” says Olson. “People like to come to my parties because I do my own cooking.”

Olson’s Hollywood Hills home was the site of many shmoozefests involving Academy voters, back in the days when that sort of thing was allowed. He recalls particularly his 1987 bash for actress Sally Kirkland, who had starred that year in the widely unseen “Anna.”

Voters and members of the press were invited. Olson whipped up a batch of chicken cordon bleu. The press wrote glowingly of Kirkland’s performance in the film, and she received a best-actress nom. (Cher won in the category for “Moonstruck.”)

While Olson isn’t saying the chicken won Kirkland the nomination, he points out that a tiny film like “Anna” wasn’t exactly getting loads of ink before the party — but there weren’t many leftovers.

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