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Although Liza Minnelli’s attendance was one of the best moments at the Oscars last month, things were apparently a lot more tense behind the scenes. Oscar organizers ‘sabotaged’ Liza and ‘forced’ her onto the stage in her wheelchair last month, a friend has claimed.
On SiriusXM’s The Jess Cagle Show, jazz singer Michael Feinstein claimed that Liza agreed to present the Best Picture award with Lady Gaga as long as she could sit in a director’s chair, not in his wheelchair.
“You know, all of that was, she was sabotaged. That’s the terrible word to use, but she only agreed to appear at the Oscars if she was in the director’s chair because she had back problems. “, said Michael. “She said, ‘I don’t want people to see me limping over there.’ She said, “You know, I want to 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 Chris Rock’s infamous slap in the face by Will Smith.
“Literally five minutes before she went on, when she sat down in the director’s chair there, and because all of them, I guess they were all shook up from everything that had happened earlier the stage manager said, ‘Well, she must be in a wheelchair,’ and Liza pleaded,” Michael said.
Liza, 76, insisted she wanted to look strong on stage, not frail in a wheelchair.
“She said, ‘No, I won’t be seen in a wheelchair in front of everyone. I will not do that. I refused to do that,'” Michael said.
As Liza begged that she wanted to be met, organizers reportedly issued an ultimatum: get out in a wheelchair or go home.
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A “baffled” Liza succumbed to the wishes of the producer.
“She was nervous. I mean, and it made her look like she was beside herself. And she was so shaken up that it was,” Michael said. “Can you imagine suddenly being forced to be seen by millions of people like you don’t want to be seen? That’s what happened to her. And she was very upset about it…and that wasn’t what had been agreed.”
He added, “She’s doing really well and it’s a shame it turned out like this. She was very disappointed.”
However, the public knew nothing of this supposed drama. In fact, Liza and Gaga provided one of the show’s most endearing moments. During the presentation of the nominees, Liza seemed to screw up her lines. Cameras and audio caught Gaga gently leaning in and quietly telling Liza, “I got you.” Liza replied, “I know.”