Liza Minnelli ‘forced’ on stage in wheelchair at Oscars, says long time friend

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 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Liza Minnelli was “sabotaged” and “forced” onstage when she presented an award at this year’s Oscar’s according to her longtime friend Michael Feinstein.

The Cabaret star, 76, was joined by Lady Gaga to present the best picture award at the Dolby Theatre on March 27.

Speaking to SiriusXM, Feinsten, 65, said she was left “shaken up” after being told to go on stage in her wheelchair. she had she originally planned to sit in a director’s chair on stage and was left ‘flustered’ and ‘discombobulated’ when this changed at the last minute.

The pianist and singer said: “She was sabotaged. She only agreed to go on the Oscars if she would be in the director’s chair [be]cause she’s been having back trouble and 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.’

The musical theatre icon presented the best picture prize to Coda after Will Smith had earlier slapped comedian Chris Rock over a joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Feinstein claimed that the altercation left organisers “shaken up” and in the chaos they changed plans before Minnelli went on.

He said: “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’.”

“Liza pleaded. She said, ‘No, I will not be seen in a wheelchair in front of everybody. I will not do this, I refuse to do this.’

“Then they said, ‘Well it’s either that or nothing.’”

Minnelli decided to appear after Feinstein witnessed the encounter, he said – but she was left “shaken”.

He added: “She was nervous. I mean, and it made her look like she was out of it. And 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.

“She is really doing well and it’s a sham that it turned out that way. She was very disappointed.”

Gaga, 36, was noted for her kind words to Minnelli while co-presenting.

The Italian-American actress murmured “I got you” to her co-presenter, as she appeared at one point to hesitate over her lines.

Liza has not spoken publicly about the alleged exchange or her appearance at the ceremony.

The Standard has contacted representatives of Minelli and the Oscars for comment.

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