Friday, April 5

Academy Names

photo by laliseuse, via Flickr

Here's a look at some names found in the lists of nominees for Best Supporting Actress, and the  list of characters they played. Some great ones to be found!

Beah — Beatrice is popular with the hipster set these days, with designs on making a true comeback by breaking into the mainstream. Its nickname possibilities make that transition easy — Bea, Bibi and Trixie fit in nicely with other trendy, cute, nickname-y names for girls, and so does Beah. I would assume this is pronounced "bay-uh," or "bee-uh"
Eve — I wonder why we don't hear Eve more often. It's a lovely, feminine sound, a word name, a great (and sinful — yay!) namesake and I'd say it definitely hangs out in the "sophisticated old lady" category. Eve seems like a pretty solid choice, and it is on an upswing. It appeared in the top 1000 in 1998 after falling off the list in the mid-'80s, and after a pretty big jump from #704 in '99 to the mid-500s in 2000, has been slowly climbing the charts. It currently sits at #546
Geraldine  I love this clunky feminine form of even-clunkier Gerald so much. I think the right girl could totally pull it off. It's one to watch, as well — it appeared in the top 1000 in 2011, for the first time in forever. At #960, I think it's ready for a jump
Lilia — my personal favorite Lil- name, it has a freshness that I think Lillian lacks, and is much less popular than Lily
Lotte — it seems that most Charlottes go by either their full name or Charlie, but I have always preferred the nickname Lottie, or Lotte as a full name on its own. Retro, European, feminine and simple, it hits all the bases 
Mercedes — pretend you don't know about the car, which was named after a girl, anyway, taken totally out of modern context, this is a great name. Unusual sounds, sweet nicknames — I like Merce more than Sadie — and a lovely meaning (should be obvious: "mercies")
Saoirse — a popular name in Ireland, Saoirse is pronounced "SEER-sha" and means "freedom." I love the sound and meaning, and wonder if actress Saoirse Ronan's career means that it might start to be used more often in the US, despite its Gaelic spelling. For the record, I'm not opposed to altering the spelling to something more familiar, like Seersha, but I think the original looks best
Spring — I had to put this one on the list, since it's being such an insanely nice spring here in LA. I like it as a name, too. We see enough of Summer, Autumn and Winter, why not Spring?
Tuesday — as far as day-of-the-week names go, Sunday's my favorite, but Tuesday comes in at a close second. Fun and spunky, for sure
Winona  I really like Winona. It is a name from the Dakota language, meaning "first-born daughter," and has such a distinctive, appealing sound

Armande —  the feminine form of French male name Armand, which is actually related to Herman, and means "army man." So, an unattractive background, but I love the look and sound of this one
Blanche — bring back Blanche! Bring back Blanche! Meaning "white," Blanche last appeared in the top 1,000 way back in 1964. If you're looking for something at the very forefront of name trends, probably so far ahead of your time that when your Blanche is a teenager she'll start hearing her name used on newborns, use this one. There were only 6 born in the US in 2011. Six! That's a travesty for such a cool name
Clancy  dig this one on a girl, not so much on a boy. Maybe because I just picture Ralph Wiggum's dad?
Gareth — very surprised to find this on a female character. A somewhat-dated male name more popular in the UK than it ever has been in the US, Gareth is a name found in Arthurian legend, as a night of the round table. I can sort of see how it can work on a girl, the "-eth" ending makes me think of Gwyneth, and the sounds aren't terribly masculine
Gillian — are there names you like, but only with certain spellings/pronunciations? Gillian is one of them, for me, on two counts: I only like it with a "G," (Scully!) and I only like it with a hard "G" pronunciation
Glory — there were 63 baby girls named Glory born in the US in 2011. It's pretty underrated, as far as word names go, and seems a logical update on Gloria, though I like that one more, personally
Irene — I love Irene. It's one of my sisters' middle names and has a history of use in my family. Very cool, and you can't beat the meaning: "peace." The French and Italian pronunciations are really pretty, too. This note is for Ottilie and Brian: she was also the first woman to lead the  ... Byzantine empire! (<--- said in a scary, Professor Z voice)
Lois — Lois has been enjoying some use in the UK recently. I've always found the sound a little anatomical, or something, but it is very pretty, and Superman fans could use it instead of naming their kid Kal-El. It hasn't been in the top 1,000 since 1983, and there were 68 born in 2011
Maerose — a really nice name-smush, I love this and Mayrose, would love to see either one used on a real person
Pilar — a Spanish name that literally means "pillar," referring to a legend that had the Virgin Mary appearing on a pillar before Saint James the Greater. (Who's the lesser, I wonder, and why?) It's never cracked the top 1,000 (at least not as far back as the online records show) but was used 74 times in 2011


  1. My twin sister and I share the nickname, Beah. We just pronounce it Bee. Its a long story how we got the nickname, but it has nothing to do with out given names, Sarah Elizabeth and Laura Christine.

  2. James the Lesser, another apostle, was simply smaller than James the Greater :)

  3. James the Lesser, another apostle, was simply smaller than James the Greater :)


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