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American actors better at British accents OR British better at American accents?

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View Poll Results: Who is better with the others' accent?
Americans are better with the British accents.
16
8.33%
The British are better with the American accents.
144
75.00%
Both about the same.
32
16.67%
Voters: 192. You may not vote on this poll

American actors better at British accents OR British better at American accents?

Old 01-14-04, 09:19 PM
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American actors better at British accents OR British better at American accents?

With British, I don't mean confined to Britain (include Australian, New Zealander, i.e former British territories sans US)

So who is better at doing the others accent?

Here are some examples off the top of my head.

I know that Brad Pitt had a very convincing Irish accent in Snatch and Nicole Kidman always has a convincing American accent in most of her films. Russell Crowe does a good job too.

Vote and discuss! (Feel free to support or counter with examples!)

Old 01-14-04, 09:56 PM
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About the same... although i'm really leaning towards British doing American, simply because its easier to think of more examples. Plus, you can't help but blame Mike Myers for introducing everyone and their mother's for bad british accents
Old 01-14-04, 10:24 PM
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Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman aren't British.
Old 01-14-04, 11:35 PM
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Originally posted by lesterlong
Russell Crowe and Nicole Kidman aren't British.
Re-read the first sentence :P
Old 01-15-04, 01:55 AM
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I don't know, I would say British doing American, but they usually don't hire American to do British. They usually just hire...a Brit. But Americans do a good job too...Zellweger comes to mind.
Old 01-15-04, 02:14 AM
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Aussie actors have been pissing on both for years now

i.e.

Toni Collete
Geoffrey Rush
Old 01-15-04, 03:34 AM
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Aussies/Quasi-Aussies who are excellent as Americans/British:

Toni Collete
Antony LaPaglia
Geofrrey Rush
Naomi Watts
Nicole Kidman
Russell Crowe
Heath Ledger
Guy Pierce
Rachel Griffiths
Cate Blanchette
Hugh Jackman
Eric Bana
Miranda Otto
Hugo Weaving

Did I miss any?

Last edited by Grimfarrow; 01-15-04 at 03:36 AM.
Old 01-15-04, 04:01 AM
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British doing American.

Some good examples:

Laurence Olivier
Vivian Leigh
James Mason
Bob Hoskins
Gary Oldman
Peter Sellers

Last edited by inri222; 01-15-04 at 04:13 AM.
Old 01-15-04, 04:22 AM
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American doing British go from excellent (Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones' Diary, Gwynneth paltrow in Shakepeare in Love) to poor (Mike Myers in The Spy Who Shagged Me) to completely off the scale (Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins).

Including Aussies and Kiwis as British is an interesting use of geography.

Is Nicole Kidman American or Aussie? She does an excellent British accent (The Hours, The Others).
Old 01-15-04, 05:02 AM
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Non-Americans are probably exposed to more American accents than Americans are to non-American accents through exposure to television and movies.

Also, British accents tend to be rather complex and vary by things like region and class. So unless you're actually exposed to the culture in the UK, you're probably not going to pick up on these nuances.

It's sort of amusing to hear UKers complain about the accent James Marsters uses as Spike on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." You know, he's over one hundred years old and has traveled the world. He'd probably tend to sort of develop his own accent after a while that wasn't wholly British or American.

And I always got the impression that Austin Powers was supposed to have a bad British accent.
Old 01-15-04, 09:03 AM
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And what about Brits:
Brian Cox
Cary Elwes
Sir Anthony Hopkins (or is it Lord now?)
Bob Hope
Minnie Driver

and how about that Mel Gibson with his Aussie accent?
Or Keeanu Reeves with his Indian accent (Little Buddha)?

Any good actor with the aid of a superior vocal coach should be able to do just about any accent a director calls for.
Old 01-15-04, 09:17 AM
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Bob Hope wasn't doing an accent, he moved here when he was five.

Mike Myers is actually excellent at British accents (his parents are from the UK). His voices in the Austin Powers movies are deliberately exaggerated.

Not an actor, but Ted Koppel ("Nightline") is British.

Have you ever noticed that Daniel Day Lewis attempting an American accent in Last of the Mohicans sounds the same as Kevin Costner attempt a British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?

To me, Australians and Kiwis sounds closer to Americans than Brits. And I'm sure they don't appreciate being lumped in as "British" any more than we'd appreciate being lumped in with (shudder) Canada.
Old 01-15-04, 03:05 PM
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Originally posted by Josh-da-man
Also, British accents tend to be rather complex and vary by things like region and class. So unless you're actually exposed to the culture in the UK, you're probably not going to pick up on these nuances.
A similar thing is seen with the accents in the Southeastern U.S. . . . if you don't live in it, you just don't realize all of the different versions.
Old 01-15-04, 05:59 PM
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Originally posted by Grouch094820 & 5/17
Bob Hope wasn't doing an accent, he moved here when he was five.

I knew that. I forgot to insert a smilie.
Mike Myers is actually excellent at British accents (his parents are from the UK). His voices in the Austin Powers movies are deliberately exaggerated.
Myers is an amazing voice talent. His Goldmember is a dead-on impression of Paul Verhooven.


Not an actor, but Ted Koppel ("Nightline") is British.
I had no idea he was british.

Have you ever noticed that Daniel Day Lewis attempting an American accent in Last of the Mohicans sounds the same as Kevin Costner attempt a British accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves?
I also love the way Craig Ferguson (Mr. Wick from Drew Carey Show) does a Londoner accent. He has a heavy Scottish accent.
Old 01-15-04, 06:14 PM
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Originally posted by CWB

Is Nicole Kidman American or Aussie? She does an excellent British accent (The Hours, The Others).
She's Aussie and has a very thick accent if you hear her interviewed.
Old 01-15-04, 06:36 PM
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Don't forget about Claire Forlani. I could have sworn she was American until I saw her on Letterman speaking with a British accent and saying that was how she really talked.
Old 01-15-04, 06:47 PM
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I've never heard Hugo Weaving or Christian Bale use their real British accent in movies. (except for Empire of the Sun when Bale could still sing soprano)

both are pretty good.
Old 01-15-04, 06:55 PM
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Originally posted by garolo
I also love the way Craig Ferguson (Mr. Wick from Drew Carey Show) does a Londoner accent. He has a heavy Scottish accent.
Indeed. I was rather surprised the first time I saw him do an interview.
Old 01-15-04, 07:25 PM
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I thought Christian Bale did an excellent job speaking "American" in American Psycho. I didn't know he was British until we studied that film in a film class I took back in Austin.
Old 01-15-04, 10:13 PM
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Smirnoffski's disclaimer aside... the following are facts.

AUSTRALIANS, NEW ZEALANDERS AND IRISH PEOPLE ARE NOT BRITISH. TO CALL THEM 'BRITISH' IS LIKE CALLING A NEW YORKER 'MEXICAN'.

THE NORTHERN IRISH, SCOTTISH AND WELSH PEOPLES ARE NOT ENGLISH. (SOMEWHAT ON THE SUBJECT, MOST OF THEM WOULD BE MUCH HAPPIER IF YOU DIDN'T CALL THEM BRITISH EITHER.)

BRAD PITT'S "IRISH" ACCENTS ARE ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE AND UNCONVINCING. I DO ADMIT, HOWEVER, THAT HE IS FUNNY IN SNATCH.


All of the above are facts.

As for my vote - about the same. Just as Tom Cruise can't do an Irish accent to save his life, Ewan McGregor's "accent" in Black Hawk Down is rubbish. As far as I can see, though, any competent actor can (with enough work) be trained in, or can pick up, an accent. Ewan's done well recently in Big Fish, which also stars Albert Finney - a man who's mastered various accents.
Some people, though, are just entrenched. Andie McDowall, anyone?

A year ago I starred in a play where, not only was I the lead, but I had to do a Los Angeles accent. I was constantly unsure of how it sounded, but people were amazed when I talked to them after the show - with my natural Irish voice. It was quite rewarding!
Old 01-21-04, 07:03 PM
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Madonna does a great English accent!
Old 01-22-04, 02:17 PM
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I think most people would agree that British actors are better than American ones. Their ability with accents follows from there.
Old 01-22-04, 02:25 PM
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I don't know...but after watching The Last Samurai i now know that a scotsman can't do a convincing irish accent (Billy Connolly) where i was under the impression (wrongly) beforehand that being of a 'celtic' nature may have made it all the more easier
Old 01-22-04, 02:29 PM
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Don Cheadle's brit-accent in Oceans 11 was attrocious

Gwynetth also did a good brit-accent in "Sliding Doors"

Christian Bale american accent for "Laurel Canyon" was spot-on.

Alan Tudyk's brit-accent for "A Knight's Tale" was decent.

On a somewhat related note I love Gerard Butler's Glasgwien (sp) accent.

Last edited by Giles; 01-22-04 at 02:32 PM.
Old 01-22-04, 03:07 PM
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Tim Roth was decent in Reservoir Dogs, except for when he was screaming in pain and sounded like Bobcat Goldwaith.

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