Who has the best American accent?

This could’ve gone in the movies section, but what actor has the best American accent? Most of the candidates I’m thinking of are British actors, but if you’ve got other examples, fire away. Off the top of my head, I’d say Hugh Laurie, but I’m sure there are lots, probably plenty I don’t even realize aren’t American.

Ryan Kwanten on Trueblood.

Kelly MacDonald in No Country for Old Men.

Jodie Foster in Silence of the lambs?

Since Damian Lewis has been Golden Globe nominated three times for playing Americans (despite possessing what is naturally a fairly thick British accent) I’m going with him.

Toni Collette was good in United States of Tara. Brian Cox is generally very good, though if you see him in earlier roles he’s dodgy.

I hope no one tries to nominate Christian Bale. I didn’t know he wasn’t American for years, I just thought he had some kind of odd speech impediment.

No Daniel Day Lewis? Sure, it might not be current day American, but it’s American nonetheless.

Well I won’t equate them and anger Hugin any more than necessary, but I do lump the two of them together (with Jamie Bamber) as actors who I didn’t realize had British accents till I heard them speaking normally, but afterward it seems obvious. Lewis still does it better than Bale, but once I realized it was an accent, their American voices still sounded less natural to me, if not exactly British. Whereas it’s still pretty rare that I notice it come through with Laurie.

Hugh Laurie in House, followed by Jonny Lee Miller in Eli Stone and Ryan Cartwright in Alphas.

Tim Roth.

Also, how about a bunch of the cast of The Wire? Dominic West’s Irish burr is so thick he can be tough to understand when he’s out of character. Idris Elba nailed the Ballmer street accent as well.

EDIT: bah, Wiki says that West is from Sheffield, so that’s a Northern burr I hear, not Irish.

EDIT: and Aiden Gillen, a/k/a Councilman/Mayor Carcetti. He is Irish, from Dublin.

Andrew Lincoln from Walking Dead


So, on the one hand I think Lincoln is very good. No objections, in a vacuum.

On the other hand, I want to downgrade any British actor who is doing an American Southern accent. As far as I can tell, a southern accent is for whatever reason the easiest “American” accent for folks from the UK to do.

Gillen was good although he played a character who naturally has a slightly Irish-ish accent (very common for working class white people in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic cities), which probably helped a bit.

Elba was very good. West however slipped all the time. I will say in West’s favor though, his “British” accent when he had to go undercover as a john at a brothel was one of the more hilarious damn things during the entire run of the show.

Hugh Laurie’s has gotten better, but he still does what a lot of Brit actors do which is over-emphasizes his R’s in an attempt to have one at all. It sounds immediately wrong to my ears when he has to say something with a prominent R-sound.

I was going to say the guy who played Dick Winters in Band of Brothers; you have him covered. If I hadn’t blocked Dreamcatcher from my memory he might have a demerit, but then Dreamcatcher has no explanation for anything and is better off not remembered.

James Earl Jones.

Dale Dye who plays Captain Harris in Platoon.

I think the real question we should investigate here is why we are outsourcing all of our acting jobs to foreigners.

Dey took r (acting) jerbs!

A classic problem that sometimes appears in singing too (when Brits try to sing with a specifically American sound). It gets so bad sometimes that they start sticking “r” sounds in places where there are normally no “r,” like Paul McCartney “never sawr them winging,” in Till There Was You.