“Top Gun: Maverick” director Joseph Kosinski continued to celebrate the theatrical success and industry praise for his 2022 star-studded sequel at the Directors Guild Awards on Saturday.

In the week ahead of the ceremony, Tom Cruise attended the Oscars Luncheon on Feb. 13 and was recognized by industry peers for the historical achievement of grossing over $1 billion at a pandemic-impacted box office. At the event, Cruise was praised by Steven Spielberg, who told the star that “‘Top Gun: Maverick’ might have saved the entire theatrical industry.”

Kosinski unpacked his response to hearing Spielberg’s praise in a conversation with Variety at the Directors Guild Awards.

“It absolutely blew my mind. That’s so kind of Steven to say,” the “Maverick” helmer said. “All of us, every director here can look at Steven’s movies and find inspiration or some movie that touched them and made them want to be a director… So to hear that from him, it makes me so proud and so happy for Tom because I know how hard he worked on this movie.”

While Spielberg stated that “Top Gun: Maverick” “saved Hollywood’s ass” and theatrical distribution, Kosinski modestly retreats from making that declaration.

“I could never say that, no, no.” Kosinski explained/ “If we put good stories on the big screen, the audience will come in that’s what I’m trying to do. I know that a lot of people are working hard on telling great stories that have to be seen in theaters. So that’s what we’re all working on.”

“We didn’t think award. We didn’t think about box office. All [the entire crew] thought about was just telling the best version of the story we had. And this has been a wonderful surprise for all of us,” Kosinski added. “Nothing makes me happier than having people come up to me and say they saw it in the theater… They took their grandpa, they took their grandkids, they took their brother and they had a wonderful time. That is what makes me so happy. That’s why we made it.”

As for the possibility of a third “Top Gun,” Kosinski says “It’s just a faint idea at this point… It’s a conversation that you know, hopefully someday happens between Jerry, Tom and myself.”

“Top Gun: Maverick” stars Cruise, Miles Teller, Jennifer Connelly, Jon Hamm, Glen Powell, Lewis Pullman, Ed Harris and Val Kilmer. In addition to Kosinski’s DGA nomination, the sequel has been nominated for six Academy Awards.