Steven Spielberg tells Tom Cruise he ‘saved Hollywood’s ass’ in viral clip from Oscars luncheon

Steven Spielberg was filmed heaping praise on Tom Cruise at the Academy Awards nominees luncheon on Monday (13 February).

Multiple outlets in attendance reported that Cruise was the centre of attention at the event, which he attended due to his producing nomination for Top Gun: Maverick.

In a clip that has widely circulated on Twitter, Spielberg – who is nominated for his semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans – can be heard pulling Cruise close in the noisy room and telling him: “You saved Hollywood’s ass.”

He continues: “And you might have saved theatrical distribution. Seriously. Maverick might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”

Cruise is seen modestly shaking his head and smiling in response to the compliments.

The famed director and star have collaborated twice in the past on Minority Report (2002) and War of the Worlds (2005).

Spielberg previously told Deadline he felt “encouraged” that blockbusters including Maverick and Avatar: The Way of the Water had been recognised by the Academy.

Maverick, the sequel to the 1986 classic Top Gun, was recently named the best film of 2022 by the American review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes.

The film directed by Joseph Krasinski, which is nominated for Best Picture at the 2023 Oscars, has grossed $1.48bn (£1.22bn) at the global box office since opening last May.

Before the nominations were announced, Cruise’s Maverick co-star Jennifer Connelly pushed for Cruise to receive an Oscar nod in the Best Actor category.

“He’s extraordinary,” she said.

“He does an amazing job in the movie. He’s extraordinary as a person and fantastic as an actor, and I think that he is just perfect. He embodies that character so beautifully, and I think he absolutely deserves it.”

The 95th Academy Awards will take place on 12 March. UK viewers will likely be able to watch the show via Sky's NOW Cinema Membership, which costs £9.99 per month.

You can catch up on the biggest talking points from the Oscar nominations, including the seven biggest snubs and surprises, here.

And you can find out where to watch all the Best Picture nominees here.