by Linda Rosenkrantz
The awards season has begun, the Golden Globes and SAG nominations have been announced and, following a Nameberry tradition, we’d like to present our own awards for the best names on the lists. So here are our twelve 2018 nominees. Care to cast your ballot?
A Spanish royal name rarely heard outside the Latinx community, Alfonso was Number 810 on the US list in 2017 and has another distinguished namesake in Nobel Peace Prize winner Alfonso Garcia Robles. Definitely available for imporation.
CAITRIONA Balfe, best actress in a TV series, drama, Outlander
Who would have thought? Vintage, originally Scottish, Elizabeth nickname Elsie has gone from being a bovine relic to a fast-rising young star name, represented by the talented teenaged Fisher. Elsie returned to the pop list in 2005 after a 30-year intermission, now at #90 on Nameberry, 301 in the US and 31 in England. Both singer Matthew Morrison and Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd have named their daughters Elsie.
LUCAS Hedges, best actor, motion picture, drama, Boy Erased
This Latin form of Luke has had a meteoric international rise, reaching double digits here in 1993 and moving up steadily to its current position at #11—and is a good bet to enter the Top 10 soon. It’s currently #9 in New Zealand, 8 in Australia, 6 in Belgium and France, 4 in Canada, Denmark and Galicia, 3 in the Netherlands, and the top name in Spain. There have been Lucases on The Vampire Diaries and Pretty Little Liars, among others.
The most unusual name on this list is the short (!) form of Maher-shalal-hash-baz, the longest proper name in the Bible, found in the Book of Isaiah. This versatile actor actually used it in its entirety at the start of his career. He won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, SAG Award, BAFTA and Golden Globe for his memorable work in Moonlight in 2016.
Egyptian-American Rami Said Malek made a strong impression on TV as Mr. Robot in 2015, now nominated for his uncanny portrayal of Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody. Rami, an Arabic name meaning ‘loving’ or ‘archer’, is also found in several other cultures, and could join current faves Romy, Remy and Rumi.
Acclaimed for her daring performance as real-life was correspondent Marie Colvin, Rosamund Pike broke through in her film debut as Bond Girl Miranda Frost in 2002, later starring in Gone Girl. She is also a creative baby namer, with sons called Solo and Atom. The elegant name Rosamund has recently crossed the Pond to become a particular Nameberry fave.
Born Shelton Jackson Lee (Shelton being his mother’s maiden name), the activist director of about 30 films since 1986 got his nickname from his mother as a child. (He famously named his daughter the baseball-related Satchel in 1994.) Spike is one of the tough old-timey nicknames like Buster and Buddy and Buck that have started to resurface—Mike Myers used Spike for his son in 2011.
Born in London as Melanie Thandiwe Newton, she has already won an Emmy for her role as Maeve Millay in Westworld. She named her daughters after meaningful inspirations—Ripley after the Alien film’s character and Nico after the singer. The name Thandiwe means “beloved” in Zulu; short-form Thandie could fit right in with popular Th-names like Theodora, Thea and Thalia.
TIMOTHEE Chalamet, best supporting actor, Beautiful Boy
22-year-old Chalamet was Oscar-nominated last year for his lead role in Call Me By Your Name. Could this hot young actor bring the romantic French spelling of Timothy into the American mainstream? Unlikely but not impossible.
Known early on for his dramatic role as Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Mortensen, who shares his name with his father, has received previous Oscar and Golden Globe nominations. He also has an active career in the fine arts. His energetic o-ending Scandinavian name has a lot of international appeal—Taylor and Natalie Hanson chose it for their fourth child.