Celebrity Names Blog

Names of the 2012 Oscars: Hugo and Asa

Names of the 2012 Oscars: Hugo and Asa
Fame/Flynet

The 2011 Academy Awards are now less than a month away, and with the recent announcement of the nominations, one specific name has been gracing the lips of film buffs everywhere: Hugo. The film, directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese, received 11 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, making it the most nominated film for 2011. It also recently won the Golden Globe Award for Best Director.

Hugo is based on the novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret written by Brian Selznick. The story revolves around a Parisian orphan, named Hugo, who lives in a railway station and becomes involved in a mysterious adventure involving a broken machine, an eccentric girl and a man who runs a toy shop.

The U.S. popularity of the name Hugo, which is derived from the Old French Hue and the Old High German Hugo meaning heart, mind and spirit, has certainly fluctuated over time. However, Hugo has been a consistently popular name in Europe and remains so today as the 5th most popular boys name in Sweden and 6th most popular in France. In the United States, it ranked at No. 441 in 2010, but peaked in 2005 at 371.

The name also flaunts a diverse history, with famous Hugos coming from a range of disciplines and nationalities. There is the 19th century French author Victor Hugo, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and German fashion mogul Hugo Boss, to name a few. 

Hugo, however, is not the only interesting name coming out of the film. The boy Hugo is played by the British actor Asa Butterfield, who has also appeared in recent films The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang. The name Asa is derived from Hebrew meaning a physician or healer and appears in the Old Testament as the third King of Judah. The popularity of the name in the United States has fluctuated almost as much as that of Hugo, ranking No. 222 in the 1880's, falling off the charts in the 1950's and currently ranking in at No. 586.

In addition to Asa Butterfield, other notable Asas include the founder of the Coca-Cola company Asa Griggs Candler and Asa Buchanan, a character on the long-running soap opera One Life to Live. As mentioned in a previous NameCandy post, the popularity of the name Asa has been rising ever since the soap has been running, and came back into popularity in the 1980's after the character was introduced.

What do you think of the name Hugo? What about the name Asa?

--A.F.

Comments

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January 31, 2012 11:23 PM
By Jennie

Hugo was the name of my grandfather whom I never met. I think it's a GREAT name and would love to see it come back into fashion in the U.S.

February 7, 2012 1:15 PM
By Scarlettb (not verified)

Hugo warning: if your child ever lives in Philadelphia, his name will be pronounced YOU-go. It's a dialect thing, and it is awful. (Thing of Donald Trump saying something is going to be "yooge")

February 8, 2012 10:19 PM
By Corhea (not verified)

I'm not so sure about Hugo but I love Asa!

February 23, 2012 1:23 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I really like Hugo, but with my Spanish last name, so many speakers of that language would probably pronounce it according to that language, with a silent H, making it sound like "oo-go", which I don't really like. So I'll just enjoy this name on others.

February 27, 2012 9:23 AM
By Annee (not verified)

My grandfather was also named Hugo -- he was born in 1879, and his siblings were Alvena, Wilhelmina (Minnie), Henry, Louis, and Ida. His parents and oldest sister (Alvena) were born in Germany. Hugo seems to have been fairly popular in the late 1800's. I have always liked this name ... ;-)

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