Linda Perry’s Genius Oscar Campaign for ‘Freeheld': No Campaign at All

Prolific writer and rocker holds a jam session over voter meet-and-greet in support of ‘Freeheld’ track

For rocker and prolific writer-producer Linda Perry, an Oscar campaign looks a lot like no campaign at all.

Perry is the former frontwoman of the band 4 Non Blondes and the author of hits like Christina Aguilera‘s “Beautiful.” She’s also responsible for penning “Hands of Love,” the emotional original song attached to the awards contender “Freeheld” starring Julianne Moore and Ellen Page.

To bring attention to the track and the film’s human rights message, Perry told TheWrap she “won’t campaign and do any of that political stuff” — instead, she stuck with what she knows and hosted a killer jam session.

West Hollywood’s exclusive night spot No Name saw a laundry list of music talent and film supporters on Tuesday, where Perry shined through a cameo-heavy set of rock ‘n’ roll: Juliette Lewis sang AC/DC’s “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap,” Aguilera stopped by to cover John Lennon’s “Mother” with additional appearances by Courtney Love and The Cult’s Ian Asbury.

Onlookers included Jodie Foster, Perry’s wife Sara Gilbert and her “Talk” cohosts Sharon Osbourne, Aisha Tyler and Julie Chen (with husband and CBS head Les Moonves).

The event took place at the same time as two other Oscar-oriented shindigs for eligible songs: Diane Warren and Lady Gaga were at the Peninsula Hotel with the filmmakers of “The Hunting Ground” on behalf of their song “Til It Happens to You,” while Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions hosted a reception with Spike Lee and Nick Cannon to celebrate Cannon’s “Pray 4 My City,” the opening-credits song in Lee’s “Chi-Raq.”

TheWrap spoke with “Freeheld” producer Stacey Sher and Perry, just before she herself belted Led Zepplin’s “Communication Breakdown.”

“Her husband [music producer] Kerry Brown said, ‘Stacey is working on this awesome movie and you’re going to write the title song.’ And I said no. I don’t do movies,” Perry explained.

Brown and Sher roped her into screening the film, about lesbian couple Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree, who were at the center of a landmark 2005 LGBT rights case in which Hester sought the right to pass her pension benefits to Andree after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

“So I see the movie and I’m crying, I’m listening to this beautiful Hans Zimmer score. And at the end of it, I picked up my phone and I started singing a melody. I was in my car on my way to meet Stacey to talk about the movie — and by the time I got there, I had the whole song,” she said.

Sher and Brown have a joint office that conveniently has a grand piano in it, Sher said, “and the first thing she did was sit down and play us the entire thing, which was pretty much identical to the demo we gave to Miley Cyrus.”

Cyrus wound up recording the song, which has been streamed more than 8 million times on Spotify. As for Perry, she charmed the crowd by doubling down on her non-awards campaign.

“I threw a little party tonight to let you all know that I’m … vegan,” she said, encouraging everyone to sample No Name chef Jared Simons’ plant-based appetizers. “And I want to live in a society where it’s safe to be a vegan.”

Perry lives a green life, but considering “Hands of Love” is considered a strong candidate in the Best Original Song category, she might add Oscar gold to her palette.

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