Liza Minnelli’s longtime friend Michael Feinstein claims the Broadway icon was “sabotaged” at the Oscars 2022 by being “forced” to use a wheelchair that sparked concern about the state of her health.
During the March 27 live broadcast, Minnelli, 76, took the stage with Lady Gaga to present the Best Picture award. Aside from sitting in a wheelchair, she also notably flubbed some of her teleprompter lines.
Feinstein, 65, alleged via Sirius XM’s “Jess Cagle Show” on Tuesday that the “Cabaret” star had “only agreed to appear on the Oscars if she would be in the director’s chair, ’cause she’s been having back trouble.”
The singer claimed Minnelli had expressed she wanted to “look good” and didn’t want people to “worry” about her, but just five minutes before she was set to appear in front of the audience, a stage manager told her she had to use a wheelchair.
“I guess they were all shaken up because of everything that had happened earlier,” Feinstein said, referencing the moment Will Smith slapped Chris Rock.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, however, there were several awards handed out between the time the infamous incident occurred and Minnelli took the stage.
Feinstein claimed to Cagle, 56, that his pal pleaded, “No, I will not be seen in a wheelchair in front of everybody. I will not do this. I refused to do this.”
The pianist, who said he was present backstage at the time, said he told Minnelli, “What do you wanna do?”
He then alleged Minnelli replied, “I’ll do it,” but was “so shaken that she was discombobulated.”
“She was nervous,” Feinstein claimed. “I mean, and it made her look like she was out of it. And she was just so shaken up that it was.
“Can you imagine being suddenly forced to be seen by millions of people the way you don’t wanna be seen? That’s what happened to her.”
Feinstein said Minnelli was “very disappointed” by what occurred and shared she is “really doing well” and “it’s a shame that it turned out that way.”
A rep for the Academy Awards declined to comment. Minnelli’s reps could not immediately be reached for comment.
However, Minnelli’s former publicist Scott Gorenstein, who helped make the Oscars 2022 moment happen, previously told The Post, “Liza is living her best life, not having to be in front of the cameras.
“She’s been under tremendous pressure her entire life to perform for audiences. The past couple of years have allowed her to relax and enjoy another phase of her life.”
Gorenstein noted that Minnelli has “had some health problems” — without specifying what they were — but concluded, “Liza is a legend and she deserves to be at the Academy Awards, so I put it in front of her people and recommended that she do it.”