Tom Cruise did not attend the 95th Academy Awards, despite the fact that his film Top Gun: Maverick was nominated for Best Picture. As a result, rumors about why Tom Cruise, the “Prince of Hollywood,” had missed the Oscars began to circulate. It was then revealed that Cruise’s absence was due to his friendship with Michael Caine.

Despite being one of the most anticipated guests, Tom Cruise was not among the stars that walked the Academy Awards red carpet on March 12. Jimmy Kimmel, the host of the 95th Academy Awards event, even wrote a three-minute monologue to honor the actor before being forced to rewrite it at the last minute after learning that Cruise would not be present. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kimmel and David Letterman examined the various reasons for Cruise’s absence, none of which mentioned Michael Caine.

Some of the theories floated by the two late-night hosts, and the rest of the internet included Tom Cruise having production issues on Mission: Impossible—Dead Reckoning Part Two, wanting to avoid his ex-wife, Nicole Kidman, who would be in attendance, or simply not believing he’d win (he didn’t, Maverick lost to Everything, Everywhere, All At Once). But, as it turns out, Cruise chose to spend that Sunday evening celebrating his dear buddy Michael Caine’s 90th birthday, which we think is a perfectly fair reason to miss the Oscars.

According to the New Daily, Tom Cruise and Michael Caine were photographed together at The River Cafe in Hammersmith, West London, during Caine’s birthday celebrations. Cruise and Caine have known each other for decades, so it stands to reason that Cruise would attend his friend’s milestone birthday.

Tom Cruise

They co-starred in the 2002 comedy Austin Powers in Goldmember. In the film, Michael Caine plays Nigel Powers, and Tom Cruise plays a satirical version of himself in an inside-the-film spoof of Austin Powers. Although both actors appeared in the film, they had known one other for decades before the Austin Powers sequel began production, dating back at least to 1983, when the duo attended a viewing of Educating Rita with their dates.

Despite skipping the Oscars to hang out with Michael Caine, Tom Cruise is widely recognized for saving the cinema business with Top Gun: Maverick due to the film’s massive ticket sales. Maverick was released in April 2022 and has already grossed approximately $1.5 billion globally. Maverick’s success has won Cruise high accolades from fellow filmmakers, including Jimmy Kimmel, who dubbed him “the Prince of Hollywood.”

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise

While Tom Cruise has earned acclaim from some fellow directors (perhaps including Michael Caine), there will always be detractors. On Jimmy Kimmel Live!, David Letterman referred to Cruise as a “Big Shot” (despite not knowing why Cruise was an Oscar no-show), while Jamie Lee Curtis has spoken out against the notion that Cruise redeemed Hollywood with Maverick. Curtis believes that Everything, Everywhere, All At Once should be given more credit for its role in revitalizing the industry.

While Everything, Everywhere was a major hit (it made $112.7 million on a $25 million budget), it didn’t make as much money as Maverick. However, Everything, Everything won the most Academy Awards, including Best Picture, with seven, whereas Maverick only got one for Best Sound.