Oscar Baby Name Hall of Fame - Charlize, Maximus and Latika
In the depth of every February, America gets a little dose of glamor to get us through the winter doldrums. A sparkling Charlize Theron or Halle Berry floats to the Oscar podium for a shiny gold statue to later display on her bookshelf (or in her bathroom or closet, if we believe the self-deprecating interviews).
American parents love to take a little of that glamor home with them -- in the form of newly-minted, Oscar-approved baby names.
Checking out the popular-name charts, it's clear that the names Charlize and Halle benefited from big Oscar bumps after their famous namesakes took home award night gold. Charlize came out of nowhere to leapfrog old favorites like Colleen and Deborah. Halle sailed for years after Berry's emotional 2002 acceptance speech for "Monster's Ball." And it's not just the girls having Oscar night fun. "Gladiator," the testosterone-fueled best picture winner of 2000, sent the impossibly macho name Maximus soaring. The golden glow of a winner rubs off.
This year, though, parents aren't likely to have as much to "thank the Academy" for. A bumper crop of '70s biopics yields slim pickings for name hunters: Harvey (Milk)? Dick (Nixon)? Most parents will pass. Even a best actress win for the beautiful Kate Winslet won't do much for her name, already an established classic.
But there may be one Oscar winning film with a real shot at influencing America's naming trends. It's the Cinderella story of the year, "Slumdog Millionaire." A story of the slums of Mumbai may seem an unlikely source of naming inspiration, but the Indian film industry has surprising power over names, even in the U.S. Bollywood superhero flick from 2006, "Krrish," made the name Krish one of the fastest rising names in America.
Some of the "Slumdog" names like Jamal and Salim are already familiar to American ears. Even more likely to rise is the name of the female lead, Latika. It's not tough to picture little Latikas fitting in with all the Lilys and Annikas running around U.S. playgrounds. The fact that Latika is is played by the stunning Indian actress Freida Pinto will only sweeten the deal. For boys, I'd look toward lead actor Dev Patel. Dev is the kind of short and snappy boy's name that parents are always after.
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