Top 10 Worst American Accents By Non Americans

Script written by Q.V. Hough These performances are missing one vital thing: a genuine sense of Americana. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Accents by Non-Americans. For this list, we're focusing on the worst offenders when it comes to producing disturbingly unrealistic American accents. Special thanks to our users Kevin Guthrie or submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Q.V. Hough

Top 10 Worst American Accents By Non Americans


These performances are missing one vital thing: a genuine sense of Americana. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Worst Accents by Non-Americans.

For this list, we’re focusing on the worst offenders when it comes to producing disturbingly unrealistic American accents. To be clear, we’re not saying these are bad actors by any means; we’re just saying that these particular accents didn’t quite cut it.

#10: Orlando Bloom
“Elizabethtown” (2005)

After three turns as the honorable Legolas in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Orlando Bloom had not only become a heartthrob, but also a legitimate movie star. However when director Cameron Crowe recruited him for “Elizabethtown,” it was for the role of an American shoe designer. It’s not quite clear why the crew allowed him to use this bizarre accent throughout the movie, and at times, it even seems that Kirsten Dunst is thoroughly confused. As a result, the film immediately falls apart, as the leading man searches for the right tone from scene to scene, extending syllables for too long and conveying hushed tones that come off more as a nervous Englishman than a depressed Yankee businessman.

#9: Lennie James
“The Walking Dead” (2010-)

First appearing briefly in Seasons 1 and 3, Lennie James earned himself a recurring role in AMC’s zombie series by the show’s fifth year, which gave audiences considerably more opportunities to process the character’s new outlook on life and certainly his inconsistent southern accent. Who knows what poor Morgan went through out there in the wilderness, but does the art of aikido not only balance one’s perspective, but also change one’s accent? No doubt, the Nottingham, England native Lennie James has done an admirable job in the role, but when you notice that his accent becomes even more pronounced during the most dramatic moments, it takes you out of the show.

#8: Simon Pegg
“Big Nothing” (2006)

For a black comedy that’s based on a serial killer slaughtering folks in the Pacific Northwest, there’s a touch of unexpected humor as Simon Pegg horrifically slaughters his American accent. As a character, Gus has plenty of snark, but the awkward dialogue reveals the actor’s severe accent troubles, as he drifts between choppy, English phrasing and overemphasizing the last words in sentences. It’s like “Oh, hey, mate – watch me do my A-MER-i-CANN Acccentttt.” Unsurprisingly, it was a French director – and not a native American – guiding the action. So this accent probably wasn’t entirely Pegg’s fault.

#7: Chris O’Dowd
“Girls” (2012-)

If you’re only vaguely familiar with this charming actor, well, you probably know that’s he got one heck of an Irish accent. Even so, for Lena Dunham’s HBO series, Mr. O’Dowd was cast as Brooklynite Thomas John, who later becomes Jessa’s husband. And let’s just say that pillow talk was only part of the problem. It’s not that O’Dowd doesn’t have the performance background to nail an American accent – he went to London’s Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, after all. But sadly, it’s just not working for him in this role. He came, he saw, and he came again – but sadly, he did not conquer.

#6: Ray Winstone
“The Departed” (2006)

With all due respect to the iconic Martin Scorsese and the brilliant film that earned him an Oscar, who exactly is Ray Winstone’s character supposed to be? Well, his nickname is Frenchy, and that’s because his last name is French – not because he’s a French immigrant that somehow became a henchman in the Boston underworld. Or is he? Whether it’s a well-placed zinger at the local five and dime, or a moment of reflection with Jack Nicholson, Scorsese and Winstone seem to be playing a joke on the audience, as the actor himself doesn’t seem to come from anywhere in US of A.

#5: Colin Firth
“Main Street” (2010)

Let’s be clear: we love Colin Firth, and who can forget his brilliant, Oscar-winning performance in “The King’s Speech”? However, in the very same year he gave us that classic, he produced perhaps the most offensive southern accent ever in John Doyle’s examination of a North Carolina community. As Gus Leroy, Firth not only stars alongside the aforementioned Orlando Bloom, but also produces an accent that bares no resemblance to the unmistakable drawl of a good ol’ fashioned southern gentleman. To be honest, Firth should have just gone over-the-top with this one, as it’s clear that he’s not IN character as the character, but IN character as some bizarro world version of himself.

#4: Jason Statham
“The One” (2001)

Jason Statham had success with early roles in Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch,” and in those roles, Statham had something going for him: his accent. He can make pretty much make anything sound awesome with his natural voice. But, then he landed a role as an apparently American interdimensional agent in James Wong’s “The One.” We say “apparently American,” because the accent doesn’t quite change for the time-travelling MVA character. To be fair, the narrative allows for a little wiggle room, but sadly, this does appear to be Statham’s version of an actual American voice. Evan Funsch: just your classic American bro… sort of.

#3: Ewan McGregor
“Down with Love” (2003)

In Peyton Reed’s exaggerated ode to the classic films of Doris Day and Rock Hudson, Ewan McGregor stars as both Catcher Block and a contrived character named Zip Martin. With the former, the actor utilized his natural Scottish accent. However, for the latter, it’s more of a southern drawl. Given the playful nature of the narrative, some may not find the tone too upsetting, but Zip Martin doesn’t exactly seem like a charming astronaut; he’s more like a character that’s been underground for a few years, unfamiliar with how people actually speak. And considering McGregor’s “Big Fish” role the same year, it’s clear that he must not spend a whole lot of time down south.

#2: Gerard Butler
“Law Abiding Citizen” (2009)

It’s the story of a man who loses everything… EXCEPT HIS SCOTTISH ACCENT! Judging by his performance as engineer Clyde Shelton, directors don’t always care about how Gerard reads lines, per se. Just that he can speak them and not sound completely ridiculous. Yet, in “Law Abiding Citizen” – a film about a man out for justice – we really don’t know what the crew was thinking when they allowed such a blatantly non-American accent to persist. When the character makes his grand statements, the film becomes even more of a joke rather than just an unintentionally hilarious production – an unfortunate fate that also befell Butler’s follow-up film “The Bounty Hunter.”

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

James McAvoy
“Wanted” (2008)

Alan Rickman
“Judas Kiss” (1998)

Jamie Dornan
“Fifty Shades of Grey” (2015)

#1: Lee Evans
“There’s Something About Mary” (1998)

In perhaps one of the most hilarious films of the past couple of decades, one particular accent stands out during a revealing scene. It comes from Lee Evans’ Tucker – an apparent architect that has formed a unique connection with the beautiful Mary. Only he’s not quite what he seems, and once Pat Healy discovers the truth, Norm Phipps emits a voice that can’t be heard in any American coffee house, or anywhere in the country for that matter. It’s a contrived anomaly that touches on American bro talk and theater drama, and it’s just downright awful. We’re not even mad; we’re just disappointed. C’mon, Lee. You’re better than this.

Do you agree with our list? What American accent do you find the most troubling? For more comedic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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