The young boy in the film is John Webster. Webster himself became a famous playwright in the 1600's; his speciality was writing gruesome plays foregoing the love and tenderness of Shakespeare and Marlow. Could this be why we see his character feeding the mouse to the cat?
Kate Winslet turned down the lead role that eventually Gwenyth Paltrow won an Oscar for.
Dame Judi Dench won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth I, even though she only had approximately 12 minutes of screen time.
As of the 2013 ceremony, this is the most recent film to win both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress Oscars.