38 Oscar movie contenders: How many have you seen?

thCAMKMLLDPeople ask: Will you attempt to see all of the Oscar-nominated movies before the awards-show deadline this year? And will you again be chronicling it?

I will, and maybe. I began this year in the same spot, having seen only two Oscar-nominated films when the nominations were announced two weeks ago. Progress has been slow: I’ve now seen 11.

I’m feeling less pressure, because here’s the thing about 2013’s pool of contenders.

There are fewer movies in the race. Last year, you’ll recall if you read me, there were 46 nominated movies across all categories and 15 shorts to spy in my annual rite to see everything before Red (Magic) Carpet Day. This year, because of excessive hogging of noms by two flicks in particular (you know who you are, “Lincoln” and “Silver Linings Playbook”), there are only 38 unique features to get through.

Here is the full list, in order of the Academy’s own hierarchy by category, from Best Picture through Writing (Original Screenplay), eliminating repeats. And a note to the Academy: Unsure why you list the writing awards last. They should come first — they do come first in the process — or at least immediately after the top six categories that most people focus on. Check marks indicate the ones I’ve seen so far:

  1. Amour
  2. Argo
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild 
  4. Django Unchained
  5. Les Misérables 
  6. Life of Pi
  7. Lincoln 
  8. Silver Linings Playbook
  9. Zero Dark Thirty 
  10. The Master
  11. Flight 
  12. The Impossible
  13. The Sessions 
  14. Brave 
  15. Frankenweenie 
  16. ParaNorman 
  17. The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  18. Wreck-It Ralph
  19. Anna Karenina
  20. Skyfall
  21. Mirror Mirror
  22. 5 Broken Cameras
  23. The Gatekeepers
  24. How to Survive a Plague
  25. The Invisible War
  26. Searching for Sugar Man
  27. Hitchcock
  28. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  29. Chasing Ice
  30. Ted
  31. Kon-Tiki (Norway)
  32. No (Chile)
  33. A Royal Affair (Denmark)
  34. War Witch (Canada)
  35. Marvel’s The Avengers
  36. Prometheus
  37. Snow White and the Huntsman 
  38. Moonrise Kingdom

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I refuse to see “Ted.”

And, for those who care, here are this year’s shorts, across three categories, always 15 glimmering treats:

  1. Inocente
  2. Kings Point
  3. Mondays at Racine
  4. Open Heart
  5. Redemption
  6. Adam and Dog
  7. Fresh Guacamole
  8. Head Over Heels
  9. Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
  10. Paperman
  11. Asad
  12. Buzkashi Boys
  13. Curfew
  14. Death of a Shadow (Dood van een Schaduw)
  15. Henry

The other odd thing this year:

Movie titles are shorter. A fascinating trend. Could it be a consequence of Twitter — filmmakers, wanting to better promote their products on all platforms, have decided to limit their characters (sic)? It seems that a good third — 34% — of this year’s nominated features are one-word titles. Last year, only 28% of the titles were one word. And this year’s words are shorter — heck, “Life of Pi” may as well be one word for all it evokes in eight characters. And if you eliminate subtitles and articles like “The” (even in French, “Les”), the one-word percentage for 2013 goes even higher: 50%, vs. 39% in 2012

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Related articles:

• Life gets in the way of movies (mommytongue.com)

• Moonlighting at the movies (mommytongue.com)

Where is ‘Sandy’ on the list of most popular baby names?

Between Superstorm Sandy and the Sandy Hook school shootings, most parents likely would show more taste than to name any child the unisex Sandy this coming year.

Still, parents have done worse things.

babyhashtagTake baby Hashtag, please. Possibly the most retweeted newborn name of the year (parents, how could you?), I’m hoping her middle name is not Sandy. The Twitterverse has seen enough Hashtag Sandys to last a lifetime.

The BabyCenter, which polls parents worldwide and tracks baby name trends, shows in its new list that Sandy doesn’t even make its top 100 list — for either girl or boy. Worldwide in 2012, it ranked at No. 2,020 for girls, and peaked in the U.S. at No. 126 in 1960. Other girl names of color — Amber, Blanche, Ebony, Ginger, Hazel, Rose and Violet — have typically out-ranked it. For boys, Sandy is more clearly a vintage name; it peaked in 1886 at No. 329 in the U.S., and ranked at No. 3,137 worldwide in 2012.

For the full list of the 100 top names of 2012, click here.

The baby-naming site Nameberry notes that “Sandy” rarely stands on its own; rather, it’s a diminutive for Sandra or Alexander/Alexandra/Alessandra. The site offers various alternative spellings: Sandee, Sandi, Sandie, Sandye, Sanndi.

(Personal note: Our youngest’s daughter’s name is Cassandra, but we never considered nicknaming her Sandy. We nearly named our older daughter Alexandra instead of Micaela, in fact — how odd it would have been if both girls could have had the nickname “Sandy.” Neither Cassandra nor Micaela made this year’s top 100, although cousin-form Makayla comes in at No. 45, and Sydney, our granddaughter born in January 2012, ranks at No. 67. “Maya” — Spanish for “May” but which was associated with a near-disaster this month — placed at No. 48.)

grease_sandy_1If you’re anything like me, you couldn’t stop singing Sandy from Grease! during coverage of the devastation from the so-called Frankenstorm. That created definite dissonance, although there was something frighteningly bipolar about that sweet-turned-siren Olivia Newton-John character.

Some people do indeed name their children after hurricanes — especially if they were hunkered down during one and gave birth roughly nine months later.

In today’s popular culture, many younger people think of Sandy as the squirrel friend of SpongeBob Squarepants — out of her element but in full protective gear to survive underwater. I knew a male Sandy as a kid. He was one of fraternal twins. He drowned in our neighborhood swimming pool when we were 10.

Avielle Richman, 6, was one of 20 children fatally shot Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This Richman family photo was provided to the Associated Press

Avielle Richman, 6, was one of 20 children fatally shot Dec. 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This Richman family photo was provided to the Associated Press.

Some baby-naming trend watchers are predicting that the names of the fallen children in the Sandy Hook massacre may rise in popularity in 2013 — such unusual names as Avielle, in tribute to 6-year-old Avielle Richman.

Ironically, “Sandy,” of Greek origin, means “protector” or “defender of men.”

Unhappy old year, everyone.