The worst ever movie accents named and shamed

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Van Dyke… voted worst ever British accent – Credit: Disney

The worst ever movie accents have been revealed, and it’s bad – if not wholly unexpected – news for Dick Van Dyke.

A group of ex-pat actors living in both the UK and the US were asked to rate the best and the worst movie accents purported to be from their native country on a five-point scale.

Van Dyke’s legendarily bad cockney from ‘Mary Poppins’ scored the lowest from the British panel of actors, scoring an average of just 1.6 out of five.

But from the other side of the pond, it was Kate Winslet’s American accent in ‘Titanic’ which scored the worst from the American panel, with a slightly better but still pretty lowly 2.4 out of five.

(Credit: Paramount)

Low scorers in the American accent stakes also included Robert Pattinson in the ‘Twilight’ movies, Rosamund Pike in ‘Gone Girl’ and John Boyega in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’.

Meanwhile, other low scorers for their British accents included Kevin Costner in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (was that even supposed to be British?), Johnny Depp from the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies and Angelina Jolie in ‘Maleficent’.

Conversely, actors highly rated for their transatlantic mimicry included Chiwetel Ejiofor for his role in ’12 Years A Slave’, and Meryl Streep for her interpretation of Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady’.

Language-learning app Babbel put the figures together, scoring the accents displayed in leading parts in blockbusters grossing over $100 million.

(Credit: Summit Entertainment)

“We thought it would be incredibly interesting to compare accents on either side of the pond,” said Katja Wilde, head of didactics at Babbel.

“Given the timing of the cinematic awards season, it made perfect sense to analyze Hollywood’s most famous English and American accents on screen.”

Here’s a full list of the scores below:

Brits Playing Americans

Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup in ’12 Years a Slave’ (2013): 4.5 out of 5
Christian Bale as Batman in ‘The Dark Knight’ (2008): 4.2 out of 5
Henry Cavill as Superman in ‘The Man of Steel’ (2013): 4.2 out of 5
Emma Watson in ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ (2012): 4.1 out of 5
Clive Owen in ‘Inside Man’ (2006): 4.1 out of 5
Benedict Cumberbatch in ‘Doctor Strange’ (2016): 3.9 out of 5
John Boyega in ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ (2015): 3.7 out of 5
Rosamund Pike in ‘Gone Girl’ (2014): 3.5 out of 5
Robert Pattinson in the ‘Twilight’ franchise: 3.5 out of 5
Kate Winslet in ‘Titanic’ (1997): 2.4 out of 5

Americans Playing Brits

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in ‘The Iron Lady’ (2011): 4.9 out of 5
Gwyneth Paltrow in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ (1998): 4.7 out of 5
Renée Zellweger as the title character in ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ (2011): 4.5 out of 5
Robert Downey Jr. as the titular British detective ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (2009): 4.3 out of 5
Sean Astin as Samwise Gamgee in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ franchise: 3.8 out of 5
Natalie Portman as Evey in ‘V for Vendetta’ (2005): 3.5 out of 5
Angelina Jolie, as the title character in ‘Maleficent’ (2014): 3.3 out of 5
Johnny Depp in the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise: 3.0 out of 5
Kevin Costner as the lead in ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’ (1991): 2.0 out of 5
Dick Van Dyke in ‘Mary Poppins’ (1964): 1.6 out of 5

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