The filmmaker's Disney epic was up for four nominations at this year's ceremony, including Best Picture. However, Cameron did not receive a Best Director nod after being nominated for the first movie.
Host Jimmy Kimmel referenced the absence in his opening monologue, saying: "James Cameron is not here tonight, by the way. You know a show is too long when even James Cameron won’t sit through it."
He also quipped: "The sequel to Avatar is the most expensive movie ever made. Disney spent two billion dollars on this movie. Just to break even, all of Nick Cannon’s kids had to see Avatar four times. And they did, I guess."
Earlier on the red carpet, Avatar: The Way of Water producer Jon Landau told The New York Times that the director had "personal reasons" for missing the show.
However, Landau mentioned that Cameron had been able to celebrate the success of The Way of Water by attending a nominees' dinner earlier in the week.
Oscars producers had been expecting another high-profile absence, as they initially announced that Lady Gaga would not be able to perform the nominated song 'Hold My Hand', from Top Gun: Maverick, due to conflicts with filming Joker 2.
Then, news broke hours before the Oscars that Gaga would be able to make a special appearance after all. She was eventually seen on the white carpet during the pre-show.
Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 95th Academy Awards from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, airing live in the US on ABC and Sky Showcase, Sky Arts, Sky News and Sky Cinema Oscars in the UK.
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