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Here’s why Tom Cruise and ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ are facing a’make-or-break’ weekend in the Oscar best picture race.

This weekend, “Top Gun: Maverick” and Tom Cruise are aiming for Mach 10 in the Oscar best picture race.

Last month, the critically acclaimed “Top Gun” sequel received an Oscar nomination after grossing nearly $1.5 billion worldwide. But Cruise, who received his first Oscar nomination since 2000 (for best supporting actor in “Magnolia”), isn’t slowing down.

Cruise turned the Oscar nominees luncheon into a schmoozing showcase last week. Saturday’s Producers Guild Awards, where Cruise will speak and “Top Gun: Maverick” is nominated for best picture, will be a litmus test to see if “Maverick” can actually win the Oscar.

” ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ is currently experiencing a surge in popularity. The question is, will it be sufficient?” says Entertainment Weekly awards correspondent and film historian Dave Karger. “This weekend, particularly the Producers Guild Awards, is a make-or-break moment for its best picture chances.”

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ could win best picture.

In January, moviegoers rejoiced when “Top Gun: Maverick” was nominated for best picture, along with five other nominations, including Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” for best original song.

However, “Maverick” was overlooked in key categories that would have boosted its chances for best picture: Cruise was not nominated for best actor, Claudio Miranda was passed over for best cinematography, and Joseph Kosinski was passed over for best director.

Karger sees “Maverick’s” chances as “slim” without a PGAs jolt in a best picture race that has seen multiverse-hopping “Everything, Everywhere All At Once,” with its leading 11 nominations, emerge as the front-runner.

Next up are the Producers Guild Awards, which Tom Cruise has already won.

Not by chance, Cruise will receive the Producers Guild’s David O. Selznick Achievement Award this weekend, a vote of confidence from a key Oscar voting bloc already receptive to box office success.

Jerry Bruckheimer, the producer of “Top Gun,” who received his first Oscar nomination for “Maverick,” will lend his support.

“Bruckheimer is well-known in the industry, which will help with producers and the Oscars,” says Chris Beachum, managing editor of the awards website GoldDerby.

If “Maverick” wins the top PGA prize, the Oscar race for best picture becomes a dogfight.

“If producers don’t embrace ‘Maverick,’ it doesn’t stand a chance,” Beachum says. “A win would also happen at the perfect time because Oscar voting starts the week after.

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