The Golden Globes still love Tom Cruise (‘Top Gun: Maverick’), but will he love them back?

When the embattled Hollywood Foreign Press Association was in the middle of its firestorm in May 2021 that threatened the continued existence of the Golden Globe Awards, Tom Cruise decided he’d had enough, returning in protest the three trophies he’d won for “Born on the Fourth of July” (Best Actor, Drama), “Jerry Maguire” (Best Actor, Musical or Comedy) and “Magnolia” (Best Supporting Actor) in May 2021. They apparently arrived in a box at the HFPA reception desk. Ouch, party of one.

But then a mere 19 months later, that same organization decided not to hold the triple-insult against Cruise, nominating the film he starred in and co-produced, “Top Gun: Maverick,” for Best Drama alongside “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “TÁR,” “The Fabelmans” and “Elvis.” (“Maverick” is currently running fourth among Gold Derby voters with 4/1 combined odds, trailing “Fabelmans,” “Avatar 2” and “Elvis.”)

The big question: will Cruise forgive, if not necessarily forget, and attend the ceremony in January? And if he does attend, will that be seen as an endorsement of an association he full-on repudiated 20 months before? Conversely, if he figuratively tells them where they can shove their nomination by not attending, how much will that hobble the comeback chances of a gala whose stars are its rocket fuel?

The suspicion is that Cruise’s decision will have a domino effect on the proceedings. So Cruise goes, so go other stars. Why? Because he’s Tom Cruise, that’s why. He’s arguably the biggest movie star in the world, perhaps not even arguably. Indeed, he may be the only giant movie star left standing. The performance of the “Maverick” sequel only added luster to his reputation. If you’re a lower-tier performer — say A-Minus List or B-Plus List — and you see that Cruise plans to attend, that will likely have a significant influence on your own decision.And if he opts to steer clear of the ceremony despite his film’s nom, that will obviously weigh just as heavily.

It’s probable that the way Cruise decides things will matter even more than Brendan Fraser‘s choice to attend or accept an award if it comes his way for his work in “The Whale,” for which he is an Oscar frontrunner and a Globe nominee. How much that will matter to Globes voters is anyone’s guess following his accusation that former HFPA president Philip Berk groped him in 2003. If both Fraser and Cruise refuse to go, it’s difficult to imagine others won’t be inclined to follow their lead.

Stay tuned. January 10 is a mere two weeks away.

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