At the 2022 Oscars, the stars of stage and screen Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli presented the award for Best Picture and perfectly paid off Lady Gaga’s acting origin story. This may have slipped by audience members who were still shocked by Will Smith’s Chris Rock slap, but it was one of the most heartfelt moments of the night. Throughout her music and movie career, Lady Gaga has openly shared her struggles with self-worth as a singer and an actress and has become a beacon of hope for many people. What those people may not have known is that Liza Minnelli was a beacon of hope for Lady Gaga well before she became a 12-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist.


Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli also have much in common—both are singers/actresses with a reputation for true humanitarianism. Minnelli herself is a singing and acting superstar who recently celebrated her 76th birthday. As Gaga said at the Oscars, fifty years ago in 1972 Liza Minnelli won an Academy Award for her performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret. She is a figurehead in pop culture who is synonymous with strength, survival, and passion; not only because she is protective of her mother Judy Garland’s true legacy, but also because of her philanthropy work. Minnelli has made fewer public appearances as of late but decided to return to present an award at the 2022 Oscars.

The moment they shared at the 2022 Oscars paid off Lady Gaga’s origin story in acting because when her professors doubted Gaga’s acting abilities at the start of her career, she was inspired by Minnelli to not give up on her dreams of being a leading lady. Then on the night of the 88th Academy Awards, Gaga was able to pay back the strength Liza Minelli’s legacy lent her by supporting and honoring Liza in front of the Hollywood elite. Lady Gaga has proven herself a true movie star with her critically awarded performances in American Horror Story, A Star is Born, and House of Gucci, none of which may have been possible without the influence of Liza Minnelli.

In 2011 during her final performance of the Monster Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden, Lady Gaga described the obstacles she faced while studying at NYU Tisch School for the Arts. She said her drama professors told her “You’ll never be the heroine, the blonde, the star. Your hair’s too dark. You look too ethnic.” To which she reacted, “What about Liza?” She cited Liza Minelli’s success as the inspiration that made her believe she too could be a superstar. Since Gaga could see herself in Liza, both in appearance and attitude, she believed she could achieve success without having to change who she was. She did just that, for Lady Gaga was a contender for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2018. 

Then in 2022 as the two walked onstage to present the Best Picture award, Lady Gaga applauded and bowed to Minnelli telling her “The public, they love you!”. Gaga then helped Minnelli with her cards while praising her show biz legacy, all while holding tightly to Minnelli’s hand. Lady Gaga supporting Minnelli and honoring her on that stage was her moment to briefly repay her for all the ways she had inspired her to pursue acting. It was her turn to support Liza after Liza unknowingly supported Gaga’s dreams simply by existing as herself. It was truly a full-circle moment. The 2022 Oscars contained many controversies, but Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga ended the ceremony with grace.

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