Oscars: Tom Cruise’s Presence Was Felt at the Ceremony Despite His Absence
Tom Cruise got plenty of attention at the 2023 Oscars, and he wasn’t even in the building.
The star and producer of Top Gun: Maverick, which was nominated for six Academy Awards including best picture, did not attend the ceremony held Sunday at the Dolby Theater. Cruise, who received a best picture nomination as a Maverick producer, has been busy with production on the eighth film in his long-running Mission: Impossible Franchise.
But footage of Cruise from the movie was featured just after the start of the telecast during an introductory montage showing the year’s films. Host Jimmy Kimmel was spliced into a pivotal Maverick scene and appeared to be speaking with Cruise’s Pete “Maverick” Mitchell from the cockpit. After Cruise’s character said to pull the plane’s ejection handles, Kimmel responded, “I don’t want to pull the handles. What’s wrong with this guy?” When Cruise again said to eject, Kimmel quipped, “Why are you like this, Tom?”
Following the video segment, Kimmel then appeared to descend from the ceiling while wearing a parachute. “Give me a second to adjust my danger zone here,” Kimmel joked, referring to the original 1986 film’s Oscar-winning Kenny Loggins song, “Danger Zone,” which was also used in the sequel.
During the monologue, Kimmel discussed the movie by jokingly mentioning “a small, independent film called Top Gun: Maverick.”
Kimmel went on to allude to the fact that Cruise is one of the most prominent members of the Church of Scientology, which was founded by L. Ron Hubbard. “The movie that saved the movies,” Kimmel said. “Everyone loved Top Gun — everybody. I mean, Tom Cruise with his shirt off in that beach football scene. L. Ron hubba-hubba — you know what I’m saying?”
The host went on to point out that neither Cruise nor Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron — both ardent champions of the theatrical experience — attended the ceremony.
“The two guys who insisted we go to the theater, didn’t come to the theater,” Kimmel said. “So if you’re hoping to get a look at Tom Cruise, he’s not here. Or maybe he is here. Maybe that’s Tom Cruise right there, wearing a Judd Hirsch Mission: Impossible mask There’s only one way to find out for sure: Judd, we’re going to need you to drive a motorcycle off the roof of the theater.” Hirsch, who turns 88 on Wednesday, gamely played along by giving a thumbs-up.
Later, Cocaine Bear Director Elizabeth Banks referenced Cruise during an onstage bit with a performer in a bear costume. Banks explained to the apparently confused bruin, “Batman flying around — it’s not real. Tom Cruise flying around is real — but also: visual effects.”
When Maverick’s team received the Oscar for best sound, marking the film’s lone win, Cruise was among those thanked during the acceptance speech.
Kimmel hosted the 95th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on Sunday. Find the complete winners list here, and see the star-studded Oscars red carpet arrivals.
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