By Linda Rosenkrantz
The Oscar ceremonies are just a few days away, when, sadly, the majority of nominees will walk away disappointed. Before they disappear, though, I thought we might take a look at some of their more interesting names—in both the major and other categories.
Agnès—The French version of Agnes has a very different pronunciation—ahn-YEZ– and image from the Anglo one. Whereas Agnes has a sweet vintage, slightly prim feel, Agnès is softer and almost sensuous. Note that Agnes is making a comeback, especially after it was chosen by Elisabeth Shue and by Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany. Agnès was a Top 100 name in France from 1900 to 1982, peaking at #23 in the 1960s.
Belgian-born director/screenwriter Agnès Varda, nominated for Best Documentary Feature—Faces Places—is considered a key figure in the French New Wave film movement. She was born Arlette, changing her name to Agnès at the age of 18.
Arjen—Pronounced AHR-yen, Arjen rose to popularity in the Netherlands in the late 1950s and is borne by several notable Dutch celebs, from footballers to poets to astronomers. It bears some similarity to Arjun, an attractive and popular Hindi name currently Number 516 in the US, having entered the Top 1000 in 2001, and based on Arjuna, a legendary son of the king of gods, considered to be the world’s greatest warrior.
Arjen Tuiten is a Dutch-American special effects makeup artist who was nominated this year for Best Makeup and Hairstyling award for his work in the film Wonder.
Consolata—Consolata is, not surprisingly, an Italian name taken from the Virgin Mary’s title of Maria Consolata, meaning consoled, comforted, in reference to her role as a comforter in times of distress.
Consolata Boyle is a Dublin-based Irish costume designer who often works with British director Stephen Frears, and has been nominated for Oscars three times, including this year for the period film Victoria & Abdul.
Dorota—Dorota is a Polish, Czech and Slovak girls’ name, a form of Dorothea that’s pronounced dohr-UH-ta in Polish. In recent years Dorota was #69 in Poland, 96 in the Czech Republic, and is worn by several noted Polish actresses.
Guillermo—The Spanish form of the classic William, pronounced ghee-YARE-mo (as heard on the Jimmy Kimmel show, as well as in TV’s Weeds), is well-used across the Spanish-speaking world. In addition to being #49 in Spain, it’s 84 in Chile and 751 in the US, where it’s been consistently on the list since records have been kept.
The brilliant Mexican director, screenwriter, producer and novelist Guillermo Del Toro won numerous international awards for his previous film Pan’s Labyrinth, and this year’s best picture Oscar-nominated The Shape of Water, has already won Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice and Directors Guild prizes.
Soren—This soft-spoken Scandinavian favorite, seen increasingly in books, films and even video games like Minecraft Story Mode, has risen to #568 in the US, 346 in France, and an impressive #39 on Nameberry.
Søren Steen Jespersen is a Danish filmaker known for producing the documentary feature Last Men in Aleppo, for which he was co-nominated for the Best Documentary Feature award. Unfortunately he won’t be attending the ceremonies as his visa was rejected by the current administration.
Sufjan—Sufjan is a Persian name meaning “comes with a sword.“ It dates back to Abu Sufyan, a figure from early Islamic history. It was given to the singer Sufjan Stevens by the founder of Subud, a spiritual community his parents belonged to when he was born.
Sufjan Stevens is an American singer-songwriter best known for his album Illinois featuring the single “Chicago.” He received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for “Mystery of Love” in the movie Call Me by Your Name.
Timothée Chalamet is one of the hottest young actors on the scene today. After drawing attention for playing Finn Walden in the TV series Homeland, he has appeared in two of 2017’s most lauded films—Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name, for which he earned nominations for the Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA best actor awards—the youngest Oscar nominee since 1939. Though born in New York, his name comes via his French father Marc Chalamet.