Jimmy Kimmel did a round of press last week ahead of the Oscars. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jimmy confirmed that Tom Cruise would be there and that was pretty much what everyone else was expecting, to the point where Jimmy’s monologue involved several Tom Cruise references – jokes about how Top Gun: Maverick saved the movies. Which then had to be cut when they found out he would not be attending. The official reason is that he’s still in production for Mission: Impossible. But there are all kinds of rumours about why Tom really bailed.
Some are pointing to the Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban thing and that Tom wanted to avoid being on the same carpet with his ex-wife and her husband. That’s the easy gossip. The less sexy but probably more likely gossip might be about the jokes. Remember, Tom was mocked at the Golden Globes by host Jerrod Carmichael and at the Directors Guild Awards by host Judd Apatow. Judd Apatow and Jimmy are good friends. While Jimmy told The Hollywood Reporter that he would not be making Tom the butt of his jokes, it doesn’t mean that Tom and his people would have believed him.
In a post-Oscars interview with Variety, Jimmy Kimmel Live! executive producer, Molly McNearney makes a point of putting it out there that Jimmy had no intention of targeting Tom (the highlighted section below is my emphasis):
“Jimmy loves Tom. Tom had just been on the show the week before,” McNearney said. “And they talked about seeing each other and Jimmy was excited to tell him that we got real Navy pilots to do the flyover at the top of the Oscars. Jimmy was really disappointed he didn’t come.”
Insiders had hinted that Cruise pulled out because he had caught wind that Judd Apatow — who had made a series of brutal jokes at Cruise’s expense at the DGA Awards — was helping with Kimmel’s monologue. But that wasn’t actually the case, and McNearney hopes that’s not the reason Cruise didn’t come.
“Jimmy tends to send his monologue to a group of people he trusts, comedy writers and comedians,” McNearney said. “They don’t help with the monologue. They just tell him like that joke’s working, that joke’s not working. No, Judd was not writing or doing anything for the monologue.”
Would that “L. Ron Hubba Hubba” joke have been used if Cruise were in the room? “No. We had about a three minute chunk of the monologue dedicated to Tom Cruise, honoring him and his role in reviving the movie industry. We were so disappointed when we learned a few days before the Oscars that he wouldn’t be there. Jimmy loves him and really wanted to celebrate him.”
If she’s out here, after the fact, making these assurances, it tells me that there might be some truth behind the speculation that Tom sat out the Oscars because he didn’t want to be in the audience for three hours while the rest of the industry laughed in his face.
By the way, Molly also reveals that Rihanna was supposed to be in the monologue and it was actually a double reveal about what Rihanna was considering for Oscar night:
“We had two versions of the monologue. One if Rihanna was in her seat, one if she was not in her seat. One if Rihanna had her baby on her lap, which she wanted to do. And one if her baby was not on her lap. A lot of our jokes were kind of at the mercy of people being in their seats.”
She wanted to bring her son and have him on her lap during the opening of the show! This kinda tracks because did you see her Instagram post last week?
That would have been a way for her to be able to involve both her children during her first Oscar nominee experience. Which didn’t end up happening but I wonder if that explains why she was late. Rihanna was the last to arrive, after the Oscars and Jimmy’s monologue had already started. And her entrance into the theatre was even more delayed because she actually stopped for our Etalk host, Tyrone Edwards, on the carpet and waved off her publicist who tried to pull her away. He may have been the only reporter to speak to her – the person EVERYONE was waiting for. So, shameless team promotion, we had to pump it up. If you haven’t seen this yet, here’s the video of how that all went down and our reaction from up on the balcony watching the live feed.
Anyway, back to Tom Cruise who wasn’t at the Oscars but did show up for Michael Caine’s 90th birthday yesterday:
And yesterday his team posted this to his own Instagram account – the official poster for Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One:
Of course it’s the bike jump on the poster. After pulling off a stunt like that, they’re going to get every second out of it. I wonder how they’re going to capitalise on that even more during the press tour.
Yours in gossip,