Red Carpet Names: Boys’ Edition

On the eve of the Academy Awards, one of our favorite bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the always informative, has searched through the annals of Oscar history and come up with some great lists of award-worthy male winners’ names.

Many  of today’s most popular names conjure up Hollywood at its most glamorous, especially for girls. I’ve met plenty of toddlers named Audrey, Ava and Natalie. But ever since Kevin Nealon called his son Gable–as in Clark–I’ve been wondering about screen legend names for boys.

Here’s a short list culled from Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.


Some of these are household names, while others are more obscure. A few have surprising roots–Denzel, for example, can be found in use in Medieval England. But all share a certain dashing quality.

EMIL (Emil Jannings won the very first Best Actor award in the 1920s.
MARCH (Fredric March was a successful actor from the 1920s to the 40s)

Fagin, Hannibal and a few other obvious bad guys aren’t on this list, but be warned–not every character is a saint. The most surprising Oscar-worthy appellation? The homespun Homer led to nominations for at least four different actors over the years.

ATTICUS (The literary powerhouse To Kill a Mockingbird was also a big screen success, with Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch.
CHANCE (From 1979’s Being There.)
COLE (Haley Joel Osment‘s psychic grade-schooler in The Sixth Sense.)
COSMO (Roland Young played Cosmo in 1937’s Topper.)
DJAY (Terrence Howard’s character in 2005’s Hustle and Flow.)
ELLIOT (Richard Dreyfus played Elliot in 1977’s The Goodbye Girl.)
EZRA (Both Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier have played Ezras.
GARRETT (Jack Nicholson”s role in 1983’s Terms of Endearment.)
GOWAN (Tom Conti’s role in 1983’s Reuben, Reuben.)
HOMER (A Hollywood favorite through the ages–Mickey Rooney played a Homer in 1942; 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives included a Homer, Sidney Poitier won the Oscar for his Homer in Lillies of the Field and Melvyn Douglas played a Homer in Hud.)
JETT (James Dean was nominated posthumously for his performance as Jett in Giant.)
JUDAH (Charleton Heston nabbed the statue playing Judah Ben-Hur in 1959.)
JULES (Samuel L. Jackson‘s Pulp Fiction role.)
LASZLO (Ralph Fiennes played Laszlo in The English Patient.)
MACAULEY (James Stewart’s Oscar-winning character in The Philadelphia Story> was Macauley Conner; however, Macauley answered to Mike.
MILO (Michael Caine’s character from 1972’s Sleuth.)
NIKONAR (Christopher Walken’s character from 1978’s The Deer Hunter
OTTO (Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda.)
PETER (Clark Gable won his first Oscar playing Peter Warne in
It Happened One Night.)
RAY (From the Ray Charles biopic.)
RUFUS (Burl Ives won for Best Supporting Actor as Rufus in 1958’s
The Big Country.)

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13 Responses to “Red Carpet Names: Boys’ Edition”

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Lola Says:

February 20th, 2009 at 10:34 am

Awesome Post! I’m a complete sucker for guys names that have a bit a flash on top of their substance. There’s a few of these on my lists: Willem (who gets no love, anywhere), Cosmo!, Rufus, Laszlo, Clark, George!, Rex! and Otto’s one I keep despite the fact I can’t use it.

I can hope a lot of these beyond Atticus start really coming back. Even Peter is starting to feel fresh again and I’ve never liked Peter. 😀

Sometimes, for fun, I’ll go to IMDb and search character names, just to see what sort of things come up, Take Zed. He shows up in some pretty unlikely places: “Pulp Fiction”, “Men in Black”, “Californication, “The Year One” “Zardoz” and so on. How cool is “just” Zed?

Cosmo, also shows up in “Mile High”, “Bridget Jones’s Diary”, “Sneakers”, “Toast of the Town”, “Stormy Monday” “The Fugitive” and a good double handful of others. It’s a fun thing to do when things are slow.

Thanks for this! Somes I feel that boys names don’t get nearly the attention girls names do. That’s sad, I think. What, we’re creative with our girls but not our boys? Don’t they deserve the same energy & love we devote to our girls? I think so, keep ’em coming! 😀

Abby Says:

February 20th, 2009 at 3:14 pm

I think that’s true, Lola. I actually starting digging for this info because I kept finding lists with Hollywood names for girls – Ava, Audrey, Natalie – but couldn’t find anything for boys!

Photoquilty Says:

February 20th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

I’ve been a fan of Clark for some time – though it’s due more to the Superman connection than the Gable one…and I think its nerdy-chic sound is kick a$$.

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

February 20th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I think we’ll be hearing a lot more from Heath and Jude, both very popular on the baby name boards. Joaquin and Viggo epitomize a manly cool, but for something understated, middle ground, and underused, my vote goes to Clark. Or George. Laszlo, Milo, Peter, Cosmo, and Olivier all get me pretty excited, too.

This IS a great list. I’d also like to thank you for concentrating on the men who always seem to get a little neglected. Even still, I won’t care what they’re wearing on Oscar night.

For what it’s worth, Lola, I’ve known a few little Willems, and I thought it got a lot of love!

Abby Says:

February 21st, 2009 at 8:28 am

There’s a 4 y.o. George at our church, and the name wears very well on him.

Elisabeth and Photoqulity, I think you’ve convinced me that Clark really is quite cool. Ever since Kevin Nealon named his son Gable, I’ve been expecting Gable to catch on … but maybe Clark is the more dashing choice.

Lola Says:

February 21st, 2009 at 12:21 pm

I’m late, but I agree; Clark should be the next, hot thing. I really expected Nick Cage to name his boy Clark instead of Kal-el. I hope he calls him Kal. 🙁 Was really disappointed, can you tell?
I like Clark for the same reasons Photoquilty does (see, we do agree, sometimes!) Definitely Superman for me and I think his sharp, crisp sound is just not quite ‘the’ thing for most yet, but I’m definitely starting to see him being talked about online. Maybe start talking about him at home too. He is dashing, in a solid, quiet way.

Thanks for the Willem love, folks! Makes me feel better. 🙂 I have him in the middle: Linus Willem.

linda Says:

February 21st, 2009 at 12:48 pm

And you’ve all convinced me to change Clark’s nameberry definition!

Elisabeth@YCCII Says:

February 21st, 2009 at 11:08 pm

Aw, man. I wish I had seen what was under Clark’s entry before. *Trotting off to check my _Baby Name Bible_…*

Emmy Jo Says:

February 22nd, 2009 at 1:43 am

I’ll second (or I think it’s “fourth” at this point) Clark’s appeal. Definitely nerdy, but also rather sexy.

My personal favorites on the list are Kenneth and Judah. My nomination for coolest name would have to go to Ezra, Rex, or Denzel (whose medieval roots also surprised me).

Abby Says:

February 22nd, 2009 at 3:53 pm

LOL – Clark is changed!

linda Says:

February 22nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm

right–into Supername!

Maria Says:

September 1st, 2009 at 4:34 pm

I am Italian but my hubby has Latino roots so Javier is a very good choice for us!!!

Oscar Nominee Names: Nameberry Week in Review – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

January 31st, 2011 at 12:45 am

[…] 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 […]

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