The last minute change was reportedly due to the Will Smith-Chris Rock disruption, that left the organizers in shock.
The 94th Academy Awards took place about a month ago, but it is still afresh in the minds of many, given the infamous Slap Heard 'Round the World.
Another moment that everyone talked about took place towards the end of the show when Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga appeared on stage together to hand over the best picture prize to Coda. The two were in sync and there was a moment where Gaga bent down to a seated Minnelli and whispered in her ear, "I got you." A smiling Minnelli replied, "I know."
While this exchange provided a rather calm closure to the event, in comparison to the earlier disruption, Minnelli was reportedly “forced” to appear in a wheelchair against her will at last month’s Oscars, a longtime collaborator has claimed, according to The Guardian.
Singer and pianist Michael Feinstein, a friend of Minnelli, aid that her appearance at the end of the ceremony left her “very disappointed”.
Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli speak onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022 in Hollywood, California. pic.twitter.com/oPIiFmF3qg— Ernstjan Feith (@FeithErnstjan) April 21, 2022
“She only agreed to appear at the Oscars if she would be in a director’s chair because she’s been having back trouble,” said Feinstein, while speaking on SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show. “She said, ‘I don’t want people to see me limping out there.’ She said, ‘You know, I want to look good. I don’t want people to worry about me.’”
Apparently, the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident had shaken up the organizers, claimed Feinstein, which led them to abruptly change the plan for Minnelli at the last minute. According to Feinstein, a stage manager informed her just minutes before her appearance that she’d be seated in a wheelchair rather than a director’s chair.
“She was nervous,” said Feinstein, “and it made her look like she was out of it. Can you imagine being suddenly forced to be seen by millions of people the way you don’t want to be seen? That’s what happened to her.”
A collaborator and friend of Hollywood legend Liza Minnelli believes that she was “sabotaged” into taking the Oscars stage in a wheelchair when she presented for best picture alongside Lady Gaga.https://t.co/nHvFZGhw7C pic.twitter.com/tpAFNCGuE7— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) April 20, 2022
However, it is unclear if the original plan was for Minnelli to walk to the stage and take a seat on the director's chair, or be wheeled out to the chair. But despite this, the moment between Gaga and Minnelli was widely appreciated by people. In fact, the pair have been close for more than a decade, and recently, Minnelli’s former publicist Scott Gorenstein told PEOPLE their appearance at the Oscars was at the direct request of Gaga.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Neilson Barnard