Given the feud supposedly raging between Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg over the actor's appropriation of the War of the Worlds press tour as a pro-Scientology, anti-psychiatry infomercial (see this Page Six item citing an upcoming New Yorker article that apparently confirms the bad blood), Cruise's surprise appearance at the Chicago International Film Festival's ceremony to present the directing legend with a lifetime achievement award could have been a deeply uncomfortable moment; indeed, Spielberg's admitted speechlessness at Cruise's materialization on stage can be read as either pleasant surprise or mute horror at seeing his onetime star stroll on stage. as CBS2Chicago.com reports:

''I can't believe you're standing here! I'm speechless,'' Steven Spielberg exclaimed to Tom Cruise Saturday night as the actor surprised the legendary director and presented him with a lifetime achievement award at the Chicago International Film Festival's annual summer gala. [...]

Turning to the crowd, Cruise said, ''I couldn't let him be honored without me being here. That's an impossibility.''

We can entertain the possibility that this very public reunion is meant to be an indication that the feud is over (or as they'd probably prefer, that there was no fight in the first place), but in the absence of any publicist statements to either effect, we'll have to rely on the visual evidence at hand to explain what really transpired between the two men. In the photos, Spielberg does look uneasy with the situation, quickly grabbing onto Cruise's shoulders in hopes of repelling him before he can get his momentum behind a second, conciliatory pelvic thrust. Verdict: This obvious physical rejection of the actor's peace-seeking dry-hump will escalate the feud—if Spielberg were really interested in reconciliation, he would've bitten his lip and let Cruise go to town.

[Photo: Gossiprocks.com]