Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder, Judi Dench, Shakespeare in Love

Universal Pictures; Merie Weismiller/DreamWorks

How did Tom Cruise get nominated for that small part in Tropic Thunder? Wasn't he only in it for a few scenes?
—Annys, Croyden

Remember, Judi Dench's almost microscopic part in Shakespeare in Love lasted all of eight minutes. She essentially walked onto a set and asked Joseph Fiennes to write a play for Twelfth Night, sending a fine claret shooting out of the noses of literary snobs across the greater Oxford-Cambridge area. Dench won an Oscar.

Moral of the story: It's not about the time on screen. It's about the screen credit. And the ability to shoot claret out of somebody's nose. Onward, with this very special, all-Globes edition of your Burning Q's!

I'm wondering who determines what celebrities go to an awards show like the Golden Globes. If a celeb didn't get an invite, can he or she still attend?

Not the Globes, no. Like the Oscars, the party is invite-only, with studios jockeying for position among the limited number of tables at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The place gets packed on the night of the ceremony. I once watched Nicole Kidman trying to maneuver through the postceremony crowd at the hotel and heard her mutter, "This is like a rock concert."

How is a movie's eligibility determined for awards season? Brad Pitt's movie got a Golden Globe nod when it's not even out yet.

According to Globe rules, any film is eligible that has "been released in the greater Los Angeles area during the qualifying year," meaning January through December. Button is being released later this year. As for how the Globes people managed to see it, here's another rule: "All [Foreign Press Association] members qualified to vote for Golden Globe Awards should be invited to a screening of the eligible film."

What do you think are the chances for animated feature WALL-E to win an Academy Award for best picture? It's my favorite movie of the year.
—Jefry, Indonesia

If the Globes are considered a bellwether for the Oscars—and they are—looks like some bad news. It wasn't nominated for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical. Instead it was shoved into the Golden Globe animated-movie ghetto—a very bad sign.

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