Welcome to the third annual Matilda Awards, where we try to discover what names on the blog were the favourites of the public.
Waltzing With … Category
It was controversy corner in this category, with ANNA gaining a frankly unbelievable 100% rating from the public. I can only think that people were reluctant to say they didn’t like my name, and now wish I had covered Anna as a Famous Name, where people might have been more comfortable making negative comments.
Because of this I am scratching the name Anna, and declaring the winners of this category LUCINDA, which scored an approval rating of 96%, and FELIX, which was rated 93%.
Lucinda was created as a pen name by the 17th century Spanish poet Lope de Vega from the Latin for “light”, made famous by Miguel de Cervantes in Don Quixote. It quickly became a literary favourite, and was covered on the blog because of Peter Carey’s novel Oscar and Lucinda. It’s a modern classic which has never reached the Top 100 in Australia, but is vastly more popular here than anywhere else.
Felix was first given as a nickname which signified “luck” to the Roman general and statesman Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Common in Roman times, it became a favourite of early Christians and is well known as a saints name. Once in the Top 200, retro Felix is back on the charts and has reached the Top 100, being one of the fastest-rising names of 2014. The name was covered in relation to the cartoon character Felix the Cat.
Two “made up” names with Latin roots and extremely positive meanings, there was a lot of love for these light and lucky names with creative Australian associations. 40% of people loved the name Lucinda and nobody hated it, while 45% loved the name Felix and only 3% hated it. They were the overall top-rated names of the year, with Lucinda the favourite name overall.
Famous Name Category
The most popular names featured in the Famous Name Category were ELEANOR, which scored an approval rating of 91% and JASPER, which scored 89%.
Eleanor is a French name with a solid royal history, and a classic never out of the charts. It reached the Top 100 in 2014 as one of the fastest-rising names of the year. Eleanor was praised for being elegant and refined, dignified and intellectual, and beautiful or attractive. It was chosen for the birthday of author Eleanor Dark.
Jasper is a name with ties to the ancient Middle East. It originally honoured the legendary Saint Jasper, who was one of the three wise men to visit the baby Jesus. Jasper has been on the charts since the 1990s, and at the bottom of the Top 100 for several years. People saw the name Jasper as hip and quirky, handsome or cute, and cool and sophisticated. It was chosen to commemorate the Epiphany.
Two popular names dating from the Middle Ages, both with connections to royalty and aristocracy.
Names Themes and Lists
The most popular names which were featured in the Names Themes and Lists Category were THEA and ARLO, which both had very convincing wins.
Thea is a short form of Dorothea or Theodora with several famous Australian namesakes that has recently been boosted as a celebrity baby name. It was covered on a list of German names for girls.
Arlo is a possible surname variant and literary place name which originated in the United States. Made famous by folk singer Arlo Guthrie, and chosen as a celebrity baby name, it is rising so steeply that it was chosen for a list of fresh names for boys.
Two short names with little history, but tons of style. They’ve been rising steeply since being chosen for their children by celebrities.
Celebrity Baby Names
The most popular celebrity twins were WILLIAM DAVID “BILLY” AND ELIZABETH ANN “BETTY” CAMPBELL, son and daughter of singer David Campbell and his wife Lisa, a producer. The twins’ brother is named Leo. Although they were the only celebrity twins, they had an overwhelmingly favourable reception.
The most popular celebrity baby girl name was MATILDA VICTORIA WATSON. Matilda is the daughter of cricketer Shane Watson, and his wife Lee Furlong, a former sports reporter. Her brother is named Will.
The most popular celebrity baby boy name was JUDE DAL SANTO. Jude is the son of Australian rules footballer Nick Dal Santo from North Melbourne and his wife Julie.
Last year the favoured celebrity baby names were all about European style and elegance: this year readers have chosen popular baby names. It’s a big win for celebrities who picked “normal” names for their children.
Names from the Birth Announcements
The most popular names for multiples were triplets HENRY, RUFUS AND PEARL who were absolutely unbeatable. I saw the triplets in a news story as they had been born prematurely and managed to beat the odds for all three to survive. The Dunstan triplets have become online fan favourites, and their hip, beautifully matched names made them poll winners as well. They were nominated in July by Madelyn, CeeCee, and Prue.
In the girls section, LUELLA WINTER was the winner. This stylish portmanteau name with several nickname options was from a set in August, so she really was a winter baby.
For the boys, it was a severe case of deja vu as HUGO FREDERICK won for the second year in a row by a wide margin. This came from a set of announcements in November, and I was interested to see if it could win against a whole new batch of names. It could and did, so I am retiring this name combination.
It was a very tight race among the sibsets, but eventually ARCHIE, OLIVE AND IRIS won the day. This charming vintage vowel-starting sibset was nominated in March by Prue.