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woody allen family

We don’t particularly think of Woody Allen as a cutting-edge filmmaker, but there is one area in which he has been—if unwittingly—prescient, and that is in giving some of his characters names that would later become trendy choices for babies.  (Though there are no babies in his films—children hardly exist in Woody’s World.)

For those characters he created for himself, he chose, with a few exceptions, pretty ordinary, sometimes nicknamey names—Alvy, Sandy, Mickey, Lenny, Larry, Jerry, Sid, Gabe, Sheldon, Isaac.  But for others, he did come up with some inspired choices:

AlfieYou Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger, 2010 (Anthony Hopkins).  A fittingly British choice for a British character—but it’s doubtful if Woody knew that Alfie was the fourth most popular name for UK baby boys born in 2010.

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moviecharblog

You don’t have to be a rabid movie buff to associate certain names with classic movie stars. For many people, Judy Garland will always be Dorothy, Clark Gable is forever Rhett and Humphrey Bogart lives on as Rick. But obviously they all inhabited any number of other movie character names throughout their careers, many of which now seem bizarrely unlikely. For example, Clark Gable played a character named Candy, Marilyn Monroe was Sugar Kane, Barbara Stanwyck a Sugarpuss, Sophia Loren, Bonbon, and Hedy Lamarr, Sweets.

So here are some iconic stars, and what we consider to be their two best character names—in Nameberry baby name terms— together with the one that stands out as the most incongruous and the movie in which he/she answered to that name.

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Cool Baby Names: Character Names

eloise

Cool baby names today may reference celebrities, sure, but more and more parents are looking to fictional characters for inspiration when naming their children.

Based on nearly two million visits to Nameberry’s individual name pages over the past three months, we see these character names — from classic literature and futuristic fantasy, Old Hollywood films and modern animation — attracting big jumps in interest.

This is one cool baby names trend that makes sense.  Fictional characters embody positive, uplifting qualities that their mortal counterparts often fall short on.  And in the ever-broadening search for names with personal meaning, parents may find referencing a favorite book or film to be a perfect way to make an important style statement and give their child a namesake to look up to.

Here, the hottest character names on Nameberry right now:

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Movie Marquee Names: Eli, Ella and Evan

marquee2

This week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel finds fresh inspiration from the title character names on recent movie marquees.

Want to see your baby’s name in lights?

There are a few ways to go about it.  There’s the Toddlers & Tiaras approach, courting fame with elaborate hair-dos and dance routines from an early age.  Or you could choose the name of a Hollywood legend – Ava or Marlon or Humphrey.

Here’s my new favorite:  head to the multiplex.  Right now Hanna and Arthur are on the marquee.  Even if you aren’t into movies about teenaged assassins or immature playboys, odds are that you’ll notice their names.  Many a stylish appellation has graced a movie poster.

Not every name catches on, of course.  It will take more than a singing chipmunk to revive Alvin, and Americans might love the boy wizard, but we’re not naming our sons Harry – yet. 

Looking back over the past few years, choosing a baby name from movie ticket stubs might be a winning proposition.

GIRLS

Akeelah

Alice

Amelia

Beth

BettieGretchen Mol portrayed controversial pin-up girl Bettie Page in a 2005 biopic.

Bridget

Charlotte

Ella

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oscarnomsboys2

Covering the week of January 25 to 31st, Abby Sandel–  creator of the wonderful AppellationMountain blog– unearths some treasures in the male Oscar nominee names announced this week.

The list of nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards came out last week.  Even though the only category in which I’ve actually seen all the contenders is Best Animated Feature Film, I’ve been digging through the nominees to find the most intriguing name options.

If you’re more into old Hollywood, check out the first guest post I ever wrote for Nameberry, 2009’s Red Carpet Names, Boys’ Edition. I have a soft spot for Clark.

Here are my picks for the most award-winning names from this year’s list of nominees:

  • Atticus, as in Atticus Ross, Trent Reznor’s long-time collaborator.  The duo is nominated for their work on “The Social Network.”  (Hat tip to C in DC for pointing him out!)
  • Jem, the unusual nickname for James favored by Jeremy Renner’s character in “The Town.”
  • Laser, the given name of the younger Hutcherson kid in the much-nominated “The Kids Are All Right.” (shown in illustration)
  • Aron, the slimmed-down Scandinavian variant of Aaron worn by real life mountain climber Aron RalstonJames Franco could win Best Actor for his portrayal of Ralston in “127 Hours.”
  • Bastien, from French filmmaker Bastien Dubois, nominated for “Madagascar, a Journey Diary.” Best Animated Short Film doesn’t get much press, but Dubois’ given name – a short form of Sebastian – could catch on.
  • Hendrix, from Guy Hendrix Dyas, nominated for production design on “Inception.”  If x-names  from Felix to Jaxon can catch on, why not Hendrix?  Dyas isn’t exactly a household name, but there’s Jimi Hendrix, too.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio is a household name, and his character from “Inception” – Dom  – could fit right in with Jack and Cole.
  • Lastly, there’s a pleasing pair of English appellations from “The King’s Speech.”  Geoffrey Rush played Lionel Logue, speech therapist to King George VI.  There’s also Cosmo, as in the given name of the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Lionel and Cosmo strike me as quite stylish names for small boys, even if the characters are rather serious.

While we’re talking Hollywood, Nancy of Nancy’s Baby Names spotted this quote from Nicolas Cage.  You’ll never guess what he wanted to name his son, known as Kal-El.

Other famous babies making their debuts this week include Mike and Lahika Tyson’s son Morocco Elijah and Coco Reese Lakshmi, a daughter for No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal and girlfriend Erin Lokitz.   We also learned that model Doutzen Kroes and DJ Sunnery James gave their son Phyllon a happy middle name – Joy.

Next week we’ll look at the Girls’ List of Oscar-inspired names, and find out if Best Actor nominee Javier Bardem and equally talented wife Penélope Cruz reveal the name they’ve chosen for their little star.

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