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The 12 Most Notable Names of 2012

Malala Yousafzai

The most notable names of 2012 take a colorful direction this year, with influences that range from presidents to K-pop, celebrities and the characters they play, and from the web to the weather.

Our picks for the 12 names most emblematic of 2012 – plus the dozen also-rans – are:

Malala.  Runnerup: Dilma

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani 14-year-old who was gunned down by the Taliban for championing girls’ education, wrote that her melodious name means “grief stricken.”  Malala could well become an inspiration name choice for young girls in the Western World.  Another female name to emerge from world politics this year is Dilma, via Brazil’s first woman president Dilma Rousseff, who was named after her mother.

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Thomas Langmann, Uggie, Jean Dujardin, Michel Hazanavicius, Berenice Bejo, Penelope Ann Miller

Okay, so the Fashion Police have had their say, praising and pillorying the various gowns and guy clothes on the Golden Globes Red Carpet by designers from Armani to Zak Posen–scrutinizing everything from Charlize Theron’s sparkly headband to Evan Rachel Wood’s Christian Louboutins.

Now it’s time for us Name Police to have our turn.  Not that we would ever say anything negative about anyone’s appellation, but we did want to point out some of the award-worthy names we discovered among the cast members and characters in this year’s Golden Globe winning movies and TV shows.

Girls

AdrianaAdriana is the beautiful fantasy mistress of artists Braque, Modigliani and Picasso, played by Marion Cotillard, in Woody Allen’s Midnight in ParisA lovely Italian name that is perfectly at home in English-speaking countries.

AmaraAmara Miller is the 11-year-old actress who plays George Clooney’s precocious daughter Scottie King in The Descendents—her first movie role.  Amara is a strong, sweet, stylish name that means “lovely forever.”

Cora—The Rt. Hon. Cora, Countess of Grantham, is the American-born mistress of Downton Abbey, played by the American-born actress Elizabeth McGovern. Cora is a gentle, old-fashioned name that has recently been rejuvenated.

DjunaDjuna Barnes is one of the real-life Parisienne icons who resurface in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. The exotic name, pronounced JOO-na, has long been associated with that early 20th century American novelist, but we can see it being adopted by cutting-edge baby namers.

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