Almost a month after the 2022 Oscars, yet another controversy has emerged.
A friend of legendary actress Liza Minnelli claims she was "sabotaged" at this year's Academy Awards after unexpectedly being "forced" to present an award in a wheelchair.
The Cabaret star presented the final Oscar of the night, Best Picture, with Lady Gaga, appearing on stage in a wheelchair. But singer Michael Feinstein, Minnelli's friend, claimed on The Jess Cagle Show she only agreed to do so if she could sit in a director's chair due to her back problems.
"She said, 'I don't want people to see me limping out there,'" Feinstein said. "She said, 'I want to look good. I don't want people to worry about me.'"
But Feinstein claims that "literally five minutes before she went on," stage managers told Minnelli she would have to appear in a wheelchair instead. According to Feinstein, the actress strongly objected to this but was told it was "either that or nothing," so she reluctantly agreed.
"She was so shaken that she was discombobulated, she was nervous," Feinstein said. "And it made her look like she was out of it. She was just so shaken up. 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 at one point appeared to become confused while presenting the award, saying, "I don't understand." But Gaga was there to help out, holding Minnelli's hand and telling her, "I got you." After the show, viewers commended Gaga, with one Twitter user saying it was "masterful" the way she was "able to navigate the situation to keep the show moving and safeguarding Liza's dignity."
Still, Feinstein says Minnelli was "very disappointed" by the Oscars' last-minute change. "It's a shame that it turned out that way," he said, though he noted that Minnelli is "really doing well."