"I wasn’t the only one to feel moved by these small acts of care, aimed at quietly helping an older person through a potentially overwhelming experience," says Jeremy Gordon of Minnelli in a wheelchair at the Oscars alongside Lady Gaga and Mitchell with a cane at the Grammys. (Minnelli's friend Michael Feinstein alleges she was "sabotaged" by producers and was supposed to appear in a director's chair.) "Each moment was widely praised on social media," says Gordon, adding: "The sheer vigor of people’s approval might say something about how rare it is to see ordinary gestures of support in contexts like awards shows, which tend to be stiff, scripted and spotlit, always highlighting the confidently glamorous and the glamorously confident. These casual gestures of assistance would be unremarkable if you saw them in daily life. And yet they took on, in these otherwise plasticine habitats, a special dramatic weight. Awards shows are a natural setting for honoring aging legends; this is why lifetime-achievement awards exist. Still, America retains a broad uneasiness with the blunt realities of getting older. Our most sprightly legends — the Jane Fondas, Warren Beattys and, until recently, Betty Whites — are invited onstage and praised for how great they look, but the actual frailty that accompanies aging tends to be hidden. Ailing celebrities often disappear from public life; only after they die do we learn about their health challenges." Gordon says Mitchell’s appearance "felt like a public reassurance that she was doing well." As for Minnelli, Gordon says: "I was grateful to see her on her own terms, rather than reading conspiratorial guesses about her health, and happy that the academy invited her to present."