Even though Troy Kostur made history by being the first deaf male actor to win an Oscar, the night was marred when Will Smith slapped Chris Rock onstage for making a “G.I. Joe” joke. Jada Pinkett Smith, his wife, was the target of a “Groundhog Day, Jane 2” joke.
Even though the Smith and Rock fight has been the most talked-about part of the show, people have been calling for the spotlight to shift to the presenting team of Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga.
Fans have praised the “heartwarming” relationship between Minnelli and Lady Gaga when they presented the Best Picture award together, however, some have wondered why Minnelli was in a wheelchair.
Who is Liza Minnelli?
Famous for her role as Sally Bowles in Bob Fosse’s 1972 film Cabaret, Minnelli is an American actress, singer, dancer, and choreographer. Minnelli was recognised even before she won the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) and became one of the most well-known people in the world.
I was born and they took a picture,” the singer, daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, told Variety. She made her acting debut in the final scene of her mother’s 1949 film, In the Good Old Summertime, when she was just three years old.
Many of Minnelli’s stage, film, and TV roles, such as those in Flora the Red Menace, The Sterile Cuckoo, Liza’s at The Palace, Arthur and Frank, and Liza & Sammy: The Ultimate Event, are instantly recognisable.
She is also the creator of many albums, including Liza Minnelli, Come Saturday Morning, New Feeling, There Is a Time, and It Amazes Me.
What Is The Reason Liza Minnelli Couldn’t Walk?
It’s likely that Minnelli’s extensive history of health issues is to blame for her current need for a wheelchair.
I have two fake hips, a wired-up knee, scoliosis (which I’ve always had), and three smashed discs,” Minnelli remarked in 2006.
An episode of viral encephalitis, described by the NHS as “An unusual but deadly illness in which the brain gets inflamed (swollen),” landed Minnelli in the hospital in October 2000, at the age of 54.
After what seemed to be a stroke, she was sent to the Cleveland Clinic in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The following week, Minnelli was released, but three days later, she was readmitted.
A representative from the clinic at the time reported, “We found her semi-conscious on the floor, disoriented, and suffering from what we assume was a probable stroke.”
When Minnelli went back to the hospital for a second time, she was diagnosed with viral encephalitis.
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According to the NHS, the initial symptoms of encephalitis might mimic the flu, such as a high temperature and a headache. However, more severe symptoms can emerge in the following hours, days, or weeks.
Few Symptoms Are Like:
- Confusion or disorientation
- Seizures or fits
- Changes in personality and behaviour
- Difficulty speaking
- Weakness or loss of movement in some parts of the body
- Loss of consciousness
In an interview with NBC’s Dateline in 2004, Minnelli claimed, “I couldn’t walk and I couldn’t talk, and they told me I wouldn’t… ever again.”
Immediately following that, I faced the wall and began reciting the alphabet backwards from A to C.
Well, that’s how it felt, actually, because I was practising at Carnegie Hall. Life is what I seek. My entire lifelong goal has been to experience actual life.
It was feared that Minnelli’s illness would force her into a wheelchair for the rest of her life, but she eventually made a full recovery and performed in her 2002 one-woman show Liza’s Back in both New York and London. She also appeared as a guest star on the sitcom Arrested Development from 2003 to 2013.
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How Did the Audience Respond to Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga’s Performance?
Minnelli and Lady Gaga, stars of House of Gucci, co-appeared to announce the Best Picture prize.
Although she did a great job overall, Minnelli seemed to have some trouble keeping her words together and keeping her cue cards in order.
Immediately, Lady Gaga took charge, declaring, “We are going to tell you who the nominees are right now.”
‘Oh good,’ said Minnelli, chuckling. Lady Gaga knelt down to Minnelli and said, “I got you,” to which Minnelli responded, “I know.”
The audience considered their interaction to be touching.
One Twitter user asked, “Can we speak about this instead? My dad was a victim of Alzheimer’s. I admire LadyGaga for all she’s doing to help Liza Minnelli keep her grace in the face of a terrible illness. You’re both A-listers. #Respect.”
The talented and attractive Lady Gaga (who should have been a nominee) and the wonderful Liza Minnelli in a classic television moment are getting too little attention compared to the brouhaha surrounding prattish Will Smith at the Oscars, as one Twitter user put it.
“All jokes aside, I hope we can talk about what a class act Lady Gaga is and how she kept the Best Picture presentation going while still keeping Liza Minnelli grounded and included without ever being patronising or weird at some time. Unbelievable” echoed a third user.