While the moment that got a great deal of attention at this year’s Academy Awards was definitely unplanned, the moment that has continued to warm hearts all over the world was Lady Gaga emerging from the wings to present the final award of the evening, Best Picture-with entertainment icon and EGOT winner Liza Minnelli. Gaga has received innumerable accolades for her appearance with Minnelli on-stage that night, but one of Minnelli’s longtime collaborators and dearest friends is calling it something very different; to be exact, he is stating emphatically that Minnelli was “sabotaged” throughout the event, and was the victim of a bait & switch situation behind the scenes.
— Page Six (@PageSix) April 21, 2022
During an appearance on Jess Cagle’s Sirius XM show, Michael Feinstein stated on the record that Minnelli went on to say in part “she only agreed to appear on the Oscars if she would be in the director’s chair, because she’s been having back trouble.” Feinstein went on to say that Minnelli’s primary concern was as always, her fans. She said “I don’t want people to see me limping out there“. She said, ‘You know, I wanna look good. I don’t want people to worry about me”. Right as Minnelli was preparing to hit the stage with Gaga the plan suddenly changed. “Literally five minutes before she went on, when she sat in the director’s chair [backstage] there, and because [everyone], I guess they were all shaken up because of everything that had happened earlier, the stage manager said, ‘Well, she has to be in a wheelchair,’ and Liza pleaded. She said, ‘No, I will not be seen in a wheelchair in front of everybody. I will not do this. I refuse to do this”. They said “it’s either that or nothing”.
Feinstein alleges (per Page Six) that Minnelli acquiesced and went ahead and appeared on stage in a wheelchair, sighing “I’ll do it,” but was “so shaken that she was discombobulated.” “She was nervous,” says Feinstein, going on to say. “I mean, and it made her look like she was out of it. And she was just so shaken up that it was. “Can you imagine being suddenly forced to be seen by millions of people the way you don’t wanna be seen? That’s what happened to her.”
While Feinstein says Minnelli was “very disappointed” by what transpired on Hollywood’s biggest night, she was all smiles in a shot with Feinstein and fellow Hollywood legend Joan Collins having dinner, which Feinstein shared on Instagram. Feinstein, a longtime friend, collaborator and confident of Minnelli’s is considered part of her “inner circle”, sending Liza birthday greetings on Instagram last month.
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