Tom Cruise attended the Oscars nominees preparatory lunch, but not the ceremony itself.
London CNN  — 

Tom Cruise didn’t attend the Oscars ceremony this year, but there’s a special occasion the Hollywood star didn’t want to miss: Michael Caine’s 90th birthday celebrations in London.

The “Top Gun: Maverick” actor has been credited with helping to drive audiences back to the big screen, so it was a surprise when he didn’t attend one of the biggest nights of awards season on Sunday.

Deadline reported that Cruise was skipping the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles because of work, with production for the next installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise currently underway.

Now Cruise, 60, has been pictured at Caine’s birthday party at The River Cafe in Hammersmith, west London. Caine turned 90 on Tuesday.

The pair have known one another for years, starring together in the 2002 “Austin Powers in Goldmember” movie.

They were joined by other British celebrities, including the comedian David Walliams and TV host Denise Welch, with photos and clips of the evening shared on social media.

Author and presenter Walliams shared images of the party on Instagram, adding: “Happy 90th Birthday to the legendary Sir Michael Caine.”

In another social media post, diners – including Caine and Cruise – can be seen laughing as Welch tells a risqué joke about Caine’s use of “Olympic condoms.”

“Such an honour to be asked by [Caine’s wife] Shakira to say a few words at Sir Michael Caines’ [sic] 90th birthday!!! He loves a dirty joke and so does @tomcruise it appears!!!!” Welch wrote on Instagram.

Meanwhile, other celebrities shared birthday wishes to Caine on social media. Actress Mia Farrow posted on Instagram that Caine has been “such a funny and wise friend over many years.” Farrow added that the British actor first introduced her to Woody Allen – for which she “forgave” him.

Cruise has been credited with injecting new life into Hollywood, after the pandemic closed movie theaters around the world. After delaying its release for two years to wait for theaters to reopen, “Top Gun: Maverick” became the highest-grossing movie of Cruise’s career.

The movie was nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. It won the Oscar for best sound.

Although Cruise wasn’t there in person, his contribution to the industry was honored with a skit by Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel, who first appeared at Sunday’s ceremony pretending to be in the “Top Gun” movie franchise.

As he sat behind Cruise in a fighter jet, Kimmel pulled off a helmet labeled with the call sign “Meatball.” Cruise advised him to eject from the plane, then Kimmel dropped on to the stage via parachute.