Queer fantasies came true at the 2022 Oscars.
Not only did Jessica Chastain win best actress for portraying televangelist-turned-unlikely gay ally Tammy Faye Messner in The Eyes of Tammy Faye, but Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli followed her acceptance speech by presenting the winner for best picture at the 2022 Academy Awards.
Yes, that’s correct. Lady Gaga and Liza Minnelli took the Oscars stage together. “You know how I love working with legends,” Gaga said, tipping to the legend next to her, as well as implicitly nodding to Tony Bennett, with whom she’s nominated for five Grammys at the upcoming 2022 ceremony. Minnelli, who won the best actress Oscar for portraying the iconic role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972), was on stage in a wheelchair and sweetly offered to Gaga, “Oh, my baby.”
Hailing Minnelli — who laughed while squeezing Gaga’s hand — as a “true show business legend,” Gaga said Liza With a Z was present to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Cabaret, the 1972 film that depicted a brief period of LGBTQ cultural liberation in Berlin before the Nazi takeover of Germany that led to the death of six million Jewish people as well as an undetermined number of LGBTQ deaths in concentration camps; the 2022 Oscars telecast featured a number of anniversary film celebrations, including salutes to Pulp Fiction and The Godfather.
“Throughout the night we’ve seen highlights of the 10 best, you know, nominated for best picture awards, now we’re gonna… tell you who it is,” Minnelli said. “I got you,” Gaga whispered to Minnelli; “I know,” Minnelli replied.
After a montage of the best picture nominees, Gaga – wearing a chic suit not wildly dissimilar from the one Joel Grey donned in his Oscar-winning (best supporting actor) performance in Cabaret – sang a bit of the “Willkommen” number that opens Cabaret.
“Hi everybody, I’m so happy to be here, especially with you — I’m you’re biggest fan,” Minnelli said while holding Gaga’s hand.
“Are you excited to announce best picture?” Gaga asked. “Oh yeah,” Minnelli replied. “And the Oscar goes to-” Gaga began behind Minnelli cut in and revealed, “Okay, Coda.”
Prior to the LGBTQ fever dream of Gaga/Minnelli onstage together, Chastain gave a gently impassioned voice against the backlash facing the queer community in her acceptance speech for best actress.
“We’re faced with discriminatory and bigoted legislation that is sweeping our country with the only goal of further dividing us,” she said. “There’s violence and hate crimes perpetuated on individuals all over the world.” Chastain pointed to the “compassion” of Tammy Faye Messner as a “guiding principle” that can lead us forward regardless of “who we are” and “who we love.” She added that for anyone out there feeling isolated and alone, “You are unconditionally loved for the uniqueness that is you.”