London (CNN) Tom Cruise did not attend the Oscar ceremony this year, but there is one special occasion that the Hollywood star did not want to miss: Michael Caine’s 90th birthday in London.
The “Top Gun: Maverick” actor has been credited with helping 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 skipped the 95th Academy Awards in Los Angeles due to work, where production is underway on the next installment of the “Mission: Impossible” franchise.
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 each other for years and starred together in the 2002 film “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”
They were joined by other British celebrities including comedian David Walliams and TV presenter Denise Welch, with pictures and clips from the evening shared on social media.
Author and presenter Walliams shared pictures 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 risque joke about Caine’s use of “Olympic condoms”.
“Such an honor 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 seems!” !!!” Welch wrote on Instagram.
Meanwhile, other celebrities shared birthday wishes for Caine on social media. Actress Mia Farrow wrote on Instagram that Caine has been “such a funny and smart friend for 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 theaters around the world. After delaying its release for two years to wait for theaters to reopen, “Top Gun: Maverick” became the highest-grossing film of Cruise’s career.
The film was nominated for six Oscars, including Best Picture. It won an Oscar for best sound.
Although Cruise wasn’t there in person, his contributions to the industry were honored with a skit by Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel, making his first appearance at Sunday’s ceremony pretending to be in the “Top Gun” movie franchise.
Sitting behind Cruise in a fighter jet, Kimmel pulled on a helmet branded with the callsign “Meatball.” Cruise advised him to jump out of the plane, after which Kimmel parachuted onto the stage.