Category: Oscar names

Abby Sandel– creator of the wonderful AppellationMountain blog–digs deeper into the Oscar nominee lists, this week on the female side of the fence, and comes up with some real name treasures.

Last week we explored boys’ names drawn from the nominees for the 83rd Academy Awards.  This week we turn our attention to the girls’ list.  No one will be surprised to discover that it is just a little bit longer.

Here are my picks for the most shimmering girls’ names from this year’s list of nominees:

Antonella, as in Antonella Cannarozzi, nominated for Best Costume Design for “I Am Love.”

Arianna is in the US Top 100, but I’ve always thought the mythological Ariadne had more style.  Now that she’s associated with Ellen Page’s maze-making character from “Inception,” will we hear more of her?

Astrid was mocked on “The Office,” but she’s a heroic Viking girl in “How to Train Your Dragon.”

–The cast of “The Fighter” includes Dendrie Taylor, previously seen on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.”  I can’t explain the origins of Dendrie, but I can hear her fitting right in with Riley and Bailey.

Frankie is daughter to troubled coupled Cindy and Dean in “Blue Valentine.”  It’s also the nickname for Amanda Peet’s firstborn, Frances Pen.

Natalie Portman scored the Screen Actors Guild award and the Golden Globe for her performance as Nina in “Black Swan.” Natalie has serious Hollywood name power.  Could Nina catch on, too?

Poesy is the last name of French actress Clémence Poesy, most recently seen in Best Picture nominee “127 Hours.” Could Poesy fit in with Lily, Daisy, and Josie in the first spot?

–Speaking of names that could fit, “Winter’s Bone” is the story of seventeen year old Ree Dolly, an Ozark mountain girl who risks all for her family.  I hear Ree and think of current middle name favorites Rose and Rae.

–She’s not exactly a role model, but legendary thronewrecker Wallis Warfield Simpson, born Bessie, does have a great name. Will “The King’s Speech” help more parents discover Wallis? Anthony LaPaglia gave the name to a daughter.  Wallis splits the difference between old-fashioned picks like Alice or Frances and modern surname choices like Madison or Taylor.

Zosia Mamet has a tiny role in “The Kids Are All Right.” Her given name is a Slavic spin on Sophia, and might be an alternative to that oh-so-popular name.

    Hollywood has given us many a great name over the years.  Read about Ingrid and Loretta, Spring and Min, here.

    One more thought: with all this talk of “Black Swan” and Twilight’s Bella Swan, would a daring parent use Swan as a given name?

    Did you catch Nicole Kidman’s explanation of her daughter’s name? Sunday’s little sister isn’t Faith, she’s Faith Margaret, “that Southern double name.”   Double names can be tough to pull off, but I imagine that Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman might just make it work.

    Speaking of names that could work, Nancy Friedman recently wrote about Naya. Nancy’s expertise is brand names, and she points out that Naya and Naia are now being worn by brands of gelato, skincare products, shoes, and wine, as well as Glee’s Naya Rivera.  With several attractive meanings, and a very current sound, Naya seems sure to catch on.

    In case you’re visiting nameberry just weeks before your due date, I’ll end by directing you to John Cave Osborne’s oh-so-true essay at Babble: “Coming Up With Baby Names Would Be Easier if My Wife Weren’t Pregnant.”

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    Continuing her exploration of motion picture award names,  one of our favorite guest bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the popular site Appellation Mountain , looks beyond Hollywood to find some interesting names associated with winners at Cannes, Berlin and Britain award ceremonies.

    Marquee-worthy baby names are all the rage, with choices ranging from the Top Ten Ava to surnames like Harlow.  Searching past Academy Award winners can provide inspiration for baby names, from the glamorous to the unusual.

    But what about all those other Award shows?  Oscar may be king in the US, but elsewhere, actors and directors compete for Goyas, Bears, BAFTAs, Ariels and, of course, the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes.

    The following names are culled from award winners from across the globe, but proceed with caution.  Just like not every Oscar-winning character makes for a worthy name sake, that remains true for this list.


    ALIDA:              1960’s award-winning French film The Long Absence was one of many starring roles for Italian actress Alida Valli.  She often was billed by her surname as VALLI.

    CALYPSO:          Neither an actress nor a character, the Calypso was the name of the ship used by Jacques Cousteau in the celebrated 1956 The Silent World, a documentary and early work by famed director Louis Malle.

    CANDELARIA:      The first Mexican film to achieve widespread international acclaim, Maria Candelaria starred Dolores del Río, the first Latin American actress to make it big in Hollywood.  The movie was released in 1943, but wasn’t screened at Cannes until post-World War II.

    GERTRUDE:         1946’s La Symphonie Pastorale is a French film based on a novel.  Gertrude is a blind orphan adopted by a pastor.  Both her foster father and stepbrother fall for her.  Drama follows.  The luminous Michèle Morgan starred as Gertrude – and would later lose out on the starring role in Casablanca.

    KESA:               Japan’s first post-war international hit was 1953’s Gate of Hell.  The story of a samurai and Lady Kesa, the woman he rescues propelled Machiko Ky? to stardom.  She went on to work with Akira Kurosawa and Kenji Mizoguchi.

    LILIA:                Mexican actress Lilia Prado graduated from beauty contests to the big screen.  Nominated for Ariel awards, she worked with Luis Buñuel on three different films.

    LISBETH:           Danish actress Lisbeth Movin starred in 1945 war drama The Red Meadows. Decades later, she has a small role in 1987’s Academy Award-winning Babette’s Feast.

    LUCIENNE:        Not an actor at all, but the jeweler who designed the original Palme d’Or award for the Cannes Film Festival.

    MAGALI:            Turkish-French actress Magali Noël was best known for her work with Italian director Federico Fellini, including appearing as Fanny in 1960’s legendary La dolce vita.  She also scored early French rock’n’roll hits as a singer in the 1950s.

    MARPESSA:        Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the part-Filipino, part-African-American Marpessa Dawn starred as Eurydice in 1959’s Black Orpheus.

    MAI:                 Swedish actress Mai Zetterling starred in Ingmar Bergman’s 1944 Torment.

    SERAFINA:          Decades before Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner chose Seraphina for their second daughter, French director Marcel Camus made Black Orpheus in Brazil in 1959.  A truly international production that would garner recognition at Cannes as well as an Academy Award and a BAFTA, Serafina was one of the characters.

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    Oscar Names: Girls’ edition

    In honor of the Academy Award nominations announced yesterday, one of our favorite bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the always informative and witty, continues the tradition she started last year with boys’ red carpet names, and has again searched through the annals of Oscar history to come up with some great lists of award-worthy female winners’ and characters’ names.

    Ava, Audrey, Natalie, Grace, Olivia.  Is it my daughter’s kindergarten class roster, or a round-up of Hollywood screen legends?  With so many parents turning to Tinsel Town for inspiration, no wonder I’m confused.
    Despite the popularity of borrowing a name from the big screen, plenty of appealing choices remain underused.  Here’s a short list culled from Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.


    Some of these are easy to imagine on a girl born today, while others might not be quite ready for a comeback.  All of them offer at least one glamorous namesake.











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