Tom Cruise Jets in Cannes – and leaves with a Palme d’Or

The Palme d’Or is the Cannes Film Festival’s most prized possession – the highest award given at the end of the festival to the jury’s choice for the best film in the competition. But much like how the Oscars bestow honorary awards on a handful of recipients at a separate event – the Governors’ Awards – each year, Cannes has awarded around 15 honorary Palmes d’Or over its 75 years to directors and actors who deserve special recognition. for their work.

This year, an honorary prize was awarded to Whitaker Forest, who received his Palme on Tuesday evening during the opening ceremony. But it turns out he wasn’t the only one to receive the special lifetime achievement award this year: Top Gun: Maverick premiere on Wednesday evening, Tom Cruise was surprised on stage with an honorary award, capping a day of celebration for the A-list movie star. “I’m just gonna take it all, and I won’t forget tonight,” he said, looking at the black-tie crowd sitting to watch Top Gun: Maverick.

The Palme d’honneur crowns a day devoted to Cruise, absent from the festival since 1992, for his film Far.

The day began with a masterclass conversation with Cruise, who reflected on his career, highlighting his passion for studying and learning about filmmaking. He talked about meeting directors and screenwriters as much as he could – he even arranged a meeting with Sydney Pollack when he was 19. “I was studying the movies, not just the names in the credits, but trying to figure out who was doing what,” he said. Cruise also talked a bit about the new Superior gun, which comes 35 years after the original film, saying the studio wanted to make a sequel almost immediately, but it wasn’t ready. “By doing sequels, I learned that I could engage with an audience,” he said.

Top Gun: Maverick Originally slated for release in 2019, but was pushed in order to complete the technical aspects of the film in 2020. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the release was again delayed multiple times, until landing with that date. current release May 27. Cruise insisted that streaming the film was never an option: “It would never happen. It would never happen.”

For a conversation meant to focus on Cruise and his movie career, the actor often turned attention to the people he works with and the people he makes movies for: the public. The 59-year-old actor, famous for doing dangerous sequences himself and a strong believer in the theatrical cinematic experience, admitted he was scared when doing his own stunts, but made the choice to improve the art form. “Preparation is everything, even if you throw it away,” he said. “Everything I do, I don’t want people to see the work behind it.”

After the hour-long masterclass, Cruise and his Top Gun: Maverick cast – which includes Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm and Glen Powell — walked the red carpet at the Grand Théâtre Lumière, with the original music and “Danger Zone” from the 1986 film playing in the background. Before entering the theater, fighter jets hovered overhead, with trails of red, white and blue smoke cascading behind them. Cruise entered the theater first — traditionally, the director and the entire film cast enter the theater together — to a standing ovation. In another break from tradition, Cruise also addressed the crowd before the screening and then received his surprise Palme d’Or.

After the film, which sees Cruise’s Maverick return to Top Gun to train a group of Marine Airmen ahead of a seemingly impossible mission, the crowd received another treat on the way out: a lavish fireworks display.

Cruise and his cast will fly to London tomorrow for another premiere, but his whirlwind day at Cannes was one of the most celebratory events seen at the festival in many years. “Thank you for this moment,” he told the crowd at the Théâtre Lumière. “I make these films for all of you.”

About Selena J. Killeen

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