Although Liza Minnelli’s presence was one of better moments of the Oscars last month, things were apparently far more tense behind the scenes. Oscars organizers “sabotaged” Liza and “forced” her to go on stage in her wheelchair last month, a friend alleged.
While on SirusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, jazz singer Michael Feinstein claimed Liza agreed to present the best picture award with Lady Gaga as long as she could sit in a director’s chair, not her wheelchair.
“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,” Michael said. “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.'”
Things seemed to be going according to plan, but the show was thrown into a frenzy after Will Smith’s infamous slap of Chris Rock.
“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,” Michael said.
Liza, 76, insisted that she wanted to look strong on stage, not frail in a wheelchair.
“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,'” Michael claimed.
While Liza begged for her wants to be met, organizers allegedly issued an ultimatum: go out in a wheelchair or go home.
A “discombobulated” Liza succumbed to producer’s wishes.
“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,” Michael said. “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… and it was not what was agreed to.”
He added, “She is really doing well and it’s a shame that it turned out that way. She was very disappointed.”
Still, the public knew none of this supposed drama. In fact, Liza and Gaga provided one of the most endearing moments of the show. While presenting the nominees, Liza seemed to flub her lines. Cameras and audio caught Gaga sweetly leaning down and quietly telling Liza, “I got you.” Liza replied, “I know.”