Oscars 2010: Partying with the Irish and Tom Cruise
Where did Tom Cruise come from?
Unless I missed him, he didn't walk the "green" carpet at the fifth annual "Oscar Wilde" pre-Academy Awards bash, thrown by the Arlington, Va.-based U.S.-Ireland Alliance. But when it came time to pay tribute to his friend and "Mission: Impossible" director J.J. Abrams -- one of three movie makers, and easily the least Irish of the bunch, honored during the event -- suddenly there was Cruise at a podium at Los Angeles's Ebell Club, as if he had sprung from the Earth like some gift from the "Top Gun" gods.
Cruise spoke briefly, poking fun at Abrams's lack of Emerald Isle creds and likening him to a previously not-so-Irish honoree at this annual event by noting that Abrams was "following in the footsteps of James L. O'Brooks." Then Cruise, dressed in jeans and a casual blue zip-up sweater, talked a bit about his own fondness for the Irish people, the fact that he loved making "Far and Away" (otherwise known as that Irish movie Tom Cruise was in whose title no one can ever remember) and how fantastic Abrams is.
As soon as the program ended and attendees -- including industry types, US-Ireland Alliance supporters and famous faces like Dana Delaney, Anton Yelchin and composer Michael Giacchino -- began to make their way toward the buffet and live music, Cruise was gone. Shortly after the official program ended, I spotted a guy behind the venue, climbing on a motorcycle and speeding off into the L.A. night; a security guard confirmed that was indeed Cruise, then waved off a pair of disappointed females who had hoped to catch a glimpse. Sorry, ladies. Jerry Maguire has other places to go and other people to see.
Still, getting Cruise to speak at the event was a coup for the US-Ireland Alliance, which has attracted some marquee-named attendees in the past; last year their big get was Kate Winslet, who went on a few days later to win her first Academy Award for "The Reader." The purpose of the organization is to strengthen ties between America and Ireland, particularly in the cultural realm. The other two honorees last night were more , shall we say, blatantly Irish: cinematographer Seamus McGarvey ("Atonement") and actress Saoirse Ronan ("The Lovely Bones"), who accepted her award via a pre-taped video, as she is currently overseas working on a film.
Even Abrams mocked his own lack of Irishness ("My name is Jeffrey Jacob Abrams. So this makes sense in so many ways"), pointing out that his wife, Katie McGrath, may have been the one really responsible for securing the award on his behalf. The "Star Trek" re-booter also told an amusing story about his family's recent vacation in Ireland, where he lost his wallet, but a kind soul found it and contacted his agency to tell him it had been discovered. (One of Abrams's assistants later called and simply said: "Ireland found your wallet.")
Of course, when Abrams went to claim it from the local police station, the woman who had it in her possession asked: "You want it?" Abrams said yes. And she responded: "How does 'Lost' end?" (For the record, he did not tell her. And she still gave him back his wallet.)
During the few moments I had with Abrams on the green carpet, I of course couldn't resist a "Lost" question myself. I asked if, as executive producer and co-creator of the show, he's a bit more involved in it creatively now that we're in the final season. He said no.
"I know what happens but [show runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse] are doing it and I just get to sort of watch these characters, many of whom were not in the pilot obviously, but to watch these characters that began as one thing but have become something extraordinary in their hands," he said.
"It's a milestone and to see that it's now six years later and it's coming to a close. What I'm thrilled about is that it's coming to a close on its own terms."
In other "Lost" news, "Lost" composer Giacchino -- also an Oscar nominee this year for his "Up" score -- said he's working on new compositions for episode 10 at the moment.
And other than that, he's just trying not to pay too much attention to the buzz that he may win his first Oscar come Sunday night.
"First of all, I love Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, so to get to see them do anything is great," he said of the hosts. "And then throw on top of that you get an open bar and a free dinner, right? I mean, that's about as good as you can hope for."
More: Full coverage of the 2010 Academy Awards
| March 5, 2010; 12:21 PM ET
Categories: Awards Season, Celebrities, Lost
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