Insiders said the Top Gun: Maverick star was not at the ceremony due to his ex-wife being there following their bitter divorce over 20 years ago.
Cruise’s movie was nominated for six awards, including the coveted Best Picture Award.
Cruise and Kidman split in 2001, reportedly due to her refusal to join him in the Church of Scientology.
A source told DailyMail.com: ‘Tom was not there because she was there, and he did not want a run-in.’
However, sources close to Cruise claimed his absence was ‘not personal’ and was nothing more than scheduling difficulties, though they did not reply specifically to the claim that it was connected to Kidman’s presence.
Cruise, 60, and his ex-wife have not been present at the same Oscars bashes this year and haven’t been seen at the same event for years.
Kidman, 55 – who walked Oscars red carpet with her country singer husband Keith Urban, 55, before packing on serious PDA during the show -was notably absent from Oscars luncheon that was attended by her Scientologist ex last month.