Celebrity Names Blog

Oscar Name Bites

It's only a week until the Oscars and here at NameCandy.com we've started compiling a list of some of our favorite name tidbits from Oscar nominated films. We hope you'll supply some favorites of your own as well.

Up
Kevin: One of the most memorable jokes in this family friendly favorite is when the young boy Russell realizes that the enormous bird he has adopted as a traveling companion is actually a mama. "Kevin's a girl?!"  The filmmakers made a good choice with the name Kevin.  In an era when traditionally masculine names are moving to the female column every day (see, for example, Charlie and Kyle), a joke based on names and genders could have been a miss.

The Blind Side
We were surprised and delighted to see The Blind Side nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. In addition to being a family-friendly film with good values and something for everyone, The Blind Side has some interesting name stories.

Big Mike: In case you haven't seen the movie, it is the story of an affluent white southern Christian family that adopts a homeless black teenager. When the boy first arrives he is known simply as "Big Mike." He refuses to speak about his past, but when the mother of the family (played by Sandra Bullock) insists he tell her something--anything--about himself, he says, "I hate being called Big Mike."  After, he is Michael to his new family.  It is the beginning of communication and transformation.

Collins: Collins is the name of the biological teenage daughter of the affluent, politically conservative Southern parents played by Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw. Collins is not a name we have heard on a girl before, but why not? In fact, back in October on our sister site BabyNameWizard.com,  Laura Wattenberg suggested Collins was a surname that could be ripe for crossover to the first name category.   Add in the fact that Collins sounds a lot like a fresh variation on the fast-fading name Colleen. (coincidentally, the actress who plays Collins is Lily Collins)

Crazy Heart
Bad Blake: Jeff Bridges is nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of Bad Blake, an aging, alcoholic country star hitting bottom.  When he is first interviewed by the lovely music reporter Jane (played by Maggie Gyllenhaal), she asks him what his real name his. He tells her that she can find out when it's inscribed on his tombstone; in the meantime he's just Bad.  [WARNING: NAME SPOILER ALERT!!!] Later, when their relationship deepens but hits a rocky patch, he reveals that he is putting Bad aside and will now be known by his birth name, Otis.

Ryan Bingham: Huh? Wasn't Ryan Bingham the name of the George Clooney character in Up in the Air? Well, yes, it was.  But Ryan Bingham is also the name of a real-life rising American country-folk musician who appears in Crazy Heart as one of the back-up musicians playing with Bad Blake.

So, what are some of your favorite names and name stories from Oscar nominated films this year?

-J.B.

Comments

Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

March 1, 2010 10:11 AM
By IvyClimber (not verified)

Props to the above commenter. Very interesting tidbit from Gaiman. Coraline is definitely my favorite "movie" name from this year, but it has been one of my faves since I read the book!

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