In the Conga line of upcoming awards shows, one of the more delicate dances will be the public soft-shoe between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Both are nominated for Golden Globes (leading nods for ''The Last Samurai'' and ''Cold Mountain,'' respectively); both plan to traipse the red carpet Jan. 25. Since the Globes are just the beginning of a season that seizes on the slightest tension for a juicy react shot, Cruise and Kidman promise to figure prominently. And we can expect the ex-power couple to start dancing as fast as they can.
Kidman and Cruise have already road-tested avoidance strategies. On the eve of their divorce, Kidman attended ''The Others''' premiere minus exec producer Cruise (who hit the red carpet with his producing partner, Paula Wagner). Alongside close friends Rebecca Rigg and Naomi Watts, Kidman arrived to shouts of ''Nicole! Nicole!'' At the 2001 Oscars (where Kidman was nominated for Moulin Rouge), Cruise skipped the carpet altogether but opened the ceremony as his ex watched. Then there are always the seating arrangements. ''Our wish would be not to embarrass either of them,'' says Lawrie Masterson, VP of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, on how he might rejigger the Globes' seating chart. So far, no request from Kidman or Cruise has come in, though ''[that] may happen in the next three weeks.''
Not a chance, if the Cruise and Kidman camps are to be believed. ''Tom will arrive when he wants to arrive [at the Globes],'' says a rep for Cruise. As for Kidman: ''We are not concerned about any of this,'' sniffs her rep, adding ''You all need to move on!'' The Academy, for one, hasn't. ''If Nicole Kidman wins [an Oscar], there will be a camera on Tom Cruise if I have to pull it off the stage,'' vows Louis J. Horvitz, director of eight Academy Awards shows, including the Feb. 29 broadcast. ''A shot like that is icing on the cake.''