Steven Spielberg Praises Tom Cruise for ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ : ‘You Saved Hollywood’s Ass’

Spielberg made sure to thank Cruise for his transformative blockbuster hit at the 95th Oscars nominee luncheon on Monday

Steven Spielberg, left, and Tom Cruise attend the 95th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon
Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise. PHOTO: WILLY SANJUAN/INVISION/AP/SHUTTERSTOCK

Tom Cruise is a hero in Steven Spielberg‘s book.

The legendary filmmaker, 76, praised the Top Gun: Maverick actor, 60, for transforming the movie industry in a video circulating on social media.

Spielberg embraced Cruise as they met at the Oscars nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Monday, and offered him some serious praise for his latest blockbuster hit.

In the video, Spielberg could be seen telling Cruise he “saved Hollywood’s ass” with Top Gun: Maverick, which claimed the spot as the highest-grossing movie of 2022 in the U.S.

The director added that Cruise “might have saved theatrical distribution” entirely with the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 hit.

“Seriously, Top Gun: Maverick might have saved the entire theatrical industry,” Spielberg praised in the video, which was originally posted by documentarian Kartiki Gonsalves on Instagram.

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Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick from Paramount Pictures, Skydance and Jerry Bruckheimer Films.
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick (2022). PARAMOUNT PICTURES

The film received a host of nominations at the upcoming Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Song, Best Visual Effects and Best Sound. Altogether, it made close to $1.5 billion at the global box office.

Since its release last spring, Maverick, which was named the year’s best film by the National Board of Review, has been subject to high praise in the industry — so much so that the question of another Top Gun movie has been raised.

Miles Teller revealed in July 2022 that he and Cruise had “been having some conversations” about the possibility of another movie.

“It’s all up to Tom,” said Teller, 35, who plays Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw, the son of Cruise’s late best friend Goose (Anthony Edwards in the original film).

“There’s definitely been conversations [but] it’s above my pay grade,” their costar Glen Powell told PEOPLE in August 2022 of a potential Maverick sequel. “It’s really up to Tom. It’s up to Jerry. It’s up to all the powers that be, but if they call me back to Miramar, I’ll be there.”

RELATED VIDEO: Tom Cruise and Top Gun: Maverick Cast Describe Movie’s “Grueling” and “Intense” G-Force Stunts

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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It seems most of the cast would be willing to return to the Top Gun world. Jay Ellis, who played Lt. Reuben “Payback” Fitch, said the cast would “love to do it again” and “love to be with Tom again.”

Working with Cruise was nothing short of a dream come true for Teller, Powell, 34, and Ellis, 41. Nearly every member of the movie’s cast expressed their admiration for the actor — and revealed the lessons they learned from working alongside him.

“One of the things that I think we all took from filming with [Tom] is making sure the audience is with you — like, ‘Always remember the audience when you’re making something,’ ” Ellis previously told PEOPLE. “Someone paid their $16, $14, whatever it is, to come see your movie. It is your job to entertain them.”

Cruise’s mindset, Ellis added, is to make sure the audience walks away “entertained.”

“And then personally, the one thing that [Tom] kept saying was, ‘Take it all in, just sit in it, take it all in, store it, put it in the back of your head and just make sure you’re present and with your castmates,’ ” Ellis said. “And I think every single one of us did it.”

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