Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli brought the chaotic 2022 Oscars to a close last month when they appeared together to present the Best Picture award to “CODA.”
Not long after the March 27 ceremony fell apart when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage, Gaga and Minnelli’s joint appearance received praise from the entertainment media. Minnelli was greeted with a standing ovation.
But a collaborator and friend now claims the “Cabaret” star was “very disappointed” by the experience.
“She was sabotaged,” singer Michael Feinstein said in an appearance on SirusXM’s “The Jess Cagle Show” that aired Tuesday.
“That’s a terrible word to use, but she only agreed to appear at the Oscars if she would be in a director’s chair, because she’s been having back problems. She said, ‘I don’t want people to see me limping around.’ She said, ‘You know, I want to look good. I don’t want people to worry about me.’”
Plans for the staging changed at the last minute, Feinstein said, in part because organizers had been “shaken” by Smith’s actions earlier that night. According to the singer, a stage manager informed Minnelli that she would be sitting in a wheelchair instead of a director’s chair just minutes before appearing on stage.
“She was nervous, and that made her look like she was out of her mind,” he said. “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.”
Minnelli’s representative did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for confirmation of Feinstein’s account.
A representative for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences declined to comment on his comments.
Feinstein, a five-time Grammy nominee, has performed alongside Minnelli on numerous occasions. Earlier this year, the pair recorded the jazz standard “Embraceable You” as a duet for Feinstein’s latest album, “Gershwin Country.”
Last month, Minnelli’s former publicist, Scott Gorenstein, told People that Gaga had personally requested that Minnelli be her Oscar night co-host. The two stars have enjoyed a friendly relationship for about a decade. In 2011, Gaga invited Minnelli to attend one of her concerts at New York’s Madison Square Garden, later citing her as a personal inspiration for her during the show.