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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 02/24/2012

Chris Dodd makes Oscar debut, while academy copes with Sacha Baron Cohen and theater name change. Also: Oscar brownies!


Senator Chris Dodd and his wife Jackie Clegg at a Golden Globes viewing party in January. (Michael Buckner)

Big salary, private screening room — and now another perk of being president of the Motion Picture Association of America: An Oscar vote.

When former Sen. Chris Dodd got the job last March, he also received a membership in the academy, complete with voting rights and an invitation to his first-ever awards ceremony.

“This is my maiden voyage,” Dodd told us Thursday from L.A. As an academy member, he received all those “For Your Consideration” screeners and took his voting duties seriously: “I should probably have seen more in the theater. Martin Scorsese does not make movies for a DVD player. ”

But Dodd refused to disclose what he voted for. “I didn’t spend 37 years in politics and not learn anything,” he said.

He’s got a full schedule of meetings, parties and after-parties, where he’s power-networking like crazy: “The value for me is to run into people I should know.” One new challenge: Trading business cards.

“I never had one in my life before,” he told us. “I have to remind myself to hand them out.”


Sacha Baron Cohen. (Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
Dodd and wife Jackie will walk the red carpet of the Kodak Theatre. . . oops, make that the “Hollywood & Highland Center.” Since Eastman Kodak filed for bankruptcy last month, a judge released the company from its expensive naming-rights deal. The gold “Kodak” sign is still on the front of the building, but academy president Tom Sherak said Wednesday that broadcasters and presenters will use the unwieldy new name of the retail/entertainment complex instead.

Whatever you call it, there’s always the requisite pre-Oscar flap. This week organizers freaked out over Sacha Baron Cohen’s plan to arrive dressed as his character in the upcoming movie “The Dictator.” The academy, it seems, has a problem with the “Bruno” actor making a “promotional” entrance and has warned him about going through with the stunt, despite his role in Best Picture nominee “Hugo.”


"The Starlet" brownie appearing in the Oscar nominees' swag bags. (Leigh Lambert)

Save the promotional stuff for the swag bags: The losing nominees get $60,000 worth of goodies including a safari, jewelry, plastic surgery — and brownies by D.C.’s Naughty Bits Brownies. Owner Leigh Lambert (a former Washington Post Food section staffer) caught the eye of Distinctive Assets, who picked her brownies for the consolation bag. Her selection includes the “Starlet,” a chocolate brownie covered with gold-dusted chocolate Pop Rocks. No, she doesn’t get a dime — in fact, she paid a small fee for the honor — but there’s lots of attention, and new orders.

“You get a lot of bang for the buck,” she told us. “I’m up to my elbows in batter and Pop Rocks.”

By  |  12:00 AM ET, 02/24/2012

 
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