• Mario Nicolais

Lady Gaga turned me to a puddle when she told Liza Minnelli, “I got you”

Updated: Apr 21

After years of declining ratings, the Oscars finally delivered a show the world could not stop talking about. Unfortunately, one ugly moment followed by a surreal acceptance speech dominated discussion across social media and gossip columns.


It overshadowed several beautiful moments scattered throughout the evening. For example, when the wonderful Youn Yuh-Jung, last year’s best actress in a supporting role, joked about her poor pronunciation skills and then congratulated this year’s best actor in a supporting role, the deaf actor Troy Kotsur, in sign language.


But the moment that turned me to a puddle came at the very end.


Lady Gaga escorted Hollywood legend Liza Minnelli onstage to announce the Best Picture winner. The wheelchair-bound Minnelli seemed to have a little trouble following her cues when Lady Gaga leaned over, touched Minnelli’s shoulder and softly whispered, “I got you.”


I could not hold back the flood of tears that overcame me watching such a moment of genuine, life-affirming compassion. I watched the rest of the program with clouded eyes and salt-stained cheeks.


The 76-year-old Minnelli has had to use a wheelchair off-and-on for nearly two decades. Many of her health issues began when she suffered a bout of viral encephalitis in 2000.


It is a devastating disease. I know. In 2002 it nearly killed me.




Read the rest of this column in The Colorado Sun.

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