Frail Liza Minnelli, 76, felt ‘shaken’ and ‘sabotaged’ after being forced on stage in wheelchair at Oscars instead of seated in director’s chair as planned, claims her friend
- Singer Michael Feinstein claimed that Minnelli was suffering from ‘back trouble’
- He said she wanted to sit in a director’s chair at the Oscars so as not to ‘limp’
- After Will Smith’s shocking slap, she was told to use a wheelchair at last minute
- Feinstein said she was ‘nervous’ and ‘shaken’ because of the switch-up
- Viewers worried that the actress appeared frail next to Lady Gaga
Liza Minnelli’s friend Michael Feinstein has come to her defense after viewers worried that she looked frail and out of it when she presented Best Picture at the 2022 Academy Awards with Lady Gaga.
During an appearance Monday on SirusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, Feinstein, 65, claimed that the 76-year-old acting and singing legend had been ‘sabotaged’ by Oscars organizers at the last minute.
He said the plan had been for Minnelli to appear seated in a director’s chair, but that she was forced to use a wheelchair at the last minute, which left her flustered and ‘discombobulated.’
Last-minute change: Liza Minnelli, 76, was ‘sabotaged’ at the Oscars after her request to use a director’s chair was ignored at the last minute and she was forced to use a wheelchair, friend Michael Feinstein claimed on The Jess Cagle Show on Monday; seen March 27 with Lady Gaga
Feinstein, an acclaimed jazz singer who focuses on standards, said he was in attendance at the Oscar with Minnelli. He claimed that she had wanted to do her presentation sitting down due to back pain issues.
‘You know, that whole thing was, she was sabotaged. That’s the terrible word to use, but she only agreed to appear on the Oscars if she would be in the director’s chair, cuz she’s been having back trouble,’ he explained.
He said the New York, New York star wanted to look as strong as possible in front of the televised audience.
‘She said, “I don’t want people to see me limping out there,”‘ he recounted. ‘She said, “You know, I wanna look good. I don’t want people to worry about me.”‘
Taking it easy: Feinstein, an acclaimed jazz singer who focuses on standards, claimed that Minnelli had wanted to do her presentation sitting down due to back pain issues
No worries: ‘She said, “I don’t want people to see me limping out there,”‘ he recounted. ‘She said, “You know, I wanna look good. I don’t want people to worry about me”‘; seen March 27
Although the plan seemed to have been worked out, Feinstein claimed that Will Smith’s shocking slap of Chris Rock led to disorder backstage and forced Minnelli out of her preferred chair.
‘And then literally, literally five minutes before she went on, when she sat in the director’s chair back there, and because every, 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,’ he continued.
‘She said, “No, I will not be seen in a wheelchair in front of everybody. I will not do this. I refused to do this.”‘
Feinstein claimed that Oscars organizers threatened to not let Minnelli present — and possibly to force Gaga to do it alone — unless she gave in to their last-minute demands.
‘”Well, it’s either that or nothing,”‘ staff allegedly told the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli.
Out of her hands: Feinstein claimed that Will Smith’s shocking slap of Chris Rock led to disorder backstage and forced Minnelli out of her preferred chair
Ultimatum: He said staff threatened to not let her present at all if she didn’t get in the wheelchair. ‘”Well, it’s either that or nothing,”‘they allegedly said; seen March 27
Feinstein said he asked Minnelli how she wanted to proceed, and she responded, ‘I’ll do it.’
However, he claimed she was ‘so shaken’ from the confrontation that it left her ‘discombobulated.’
‘She was nervous. I mean, and it made her look like she was out of it. And she was just so shaken up that it was,’ he continued.
Liza’s rare public appearance comes amid the 50th anniversary celebrations of her 1972 classic Cabaret, which earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress and helped her move out of the shadow of her famous parents, but Feinstein suggested that the Oscars fiasco may have tainted what should have been a glorious moment for her.
‘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. And she was very disappointed at that, that that happened and it was not what was agreed to,’ he said.
‘So she’s, she is really doing well and it’s a shame that it turned out that way. She was very disappointed.’
Loss of control: ‘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. And she was very disappointed at that, that that happened and it was not what was agreed to,’ he said
‘Shame’: ‘So she’s, she is really doing well and it’s a shame that it turned out that way. She was very disappointed’; Minnelli seen at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2014
Although Minnelli may not have presented herself in the manner that she hoped for, the audience was clearly excited to see her and gave her a standing ovation as she arrived on stage with Gaga.
‘Do you see that? The public, they love you,’ said the Poker Face singer as she got the card with the winner ready.
During the presentation, Liza at times had trouble reading her lines, though Gaga helped her along.
‘I got you,’ she said sweetly to the stage and screen veteran, to which Minnelli replied, ‘I know.’
Viewers at home applauded Gaga’s kindness on social media, particularly as a contrasted to Will Smith’s shocking slap and shouted profanities earlier in the evening, calling it a ‘highlight of the night.’
According to the New York Post, Gaga had personally requested that Minnelli join her to present Best Picture.
Support: Liza had trouble reading her lines, but Gaga helped her along. ‘I got you,’ she said sweetly to the stage and screen veteran, to which Minnelli replied, ‘I know’
Talking: The poignant moment saw an abundance of praise piled onto the House Of Gucci actress, with one moved fan saying it should be the ‘highlight of the night’
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