Not long after the March 27 ceremony was thrown into disarray when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage, Gaga and Minelli’s joint appearance drew praise from entertainment outlets. Minnelli was greeted with a standing ovation.
But a collaborator and friend now claims the “Cabaret” star was “very disappointed” by the experience.
“That’s a terrible word to use, but she only agreed to appear on the Oscars if she would be in a director’s chair, because she’s been having back trouble. 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.’”
Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli at the 2022 Academy Awards in March. (Photo: Neilson Barnard via Getty Images)
Plans for the setup changed at the last minute, Feinstein said, in part because organizers had been “shaken up” by Smith’s actions earlier that night. According to the singer, a stage manager informed Minnelli she’d be seated in a wheelchair instead of in a director’s chair just minutes before she was due to appear onstage.
“She was nervous, and it made her look like she was out of it,” 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 remarks.
A five-time Grammy nominee, Feinstein has performed alongside Minnelli on numerousoccasions. 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 Oscars night co-presenter. 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 during the show.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.