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The Excellence in Outsourcing Award nominees

by Allison Waldman, posted May 27th 2008 4:41PM
TVS award logoHave you been checking out the best American accents on TV today? TV Squad has selected five fantastic nominees for The Excellence in Outsourcing Award, the television actors who have the best American accents. These five are all non-Americans, naturally, but you would never know it by their performances as good old folks from the United States.

So read all about these five worthy candidates and see why they've been selected. Then, check out the poll at the end. That's when you have a job to do. We want to know your top choice from the five nominees we've selected. Please take a moment to answer our poll at the end, casting your ballot for the Reader's Choice award in Excellence in Outsourcing.

After careful consideration, here are the five actors whom we have nominated for the Excellence in Outsourcing Award, five nominees who have distinguished themselves by perfecting the best fake American accent.

1. Jonny Lee Miller, Eli Stone
Jonny Lee Miller has been fooling viewers about his nationality since his first TV appearance on CBS's Smith last season. Who could possibly guess that this is the same guy with the thick, nearly unintelligible Scottish accent in Trainspotting? His American accent is so good on Eli Stone that most people just assume that he was born in this country. Not so. He was actually born in Surrey, England, and educated in proper British schools -- until he dropped out at 17 to become an actor. Somewhere along the way, through UK TV and theater, friendships with Ewan McGregor and Jude Law, he perfected an American accent. Perhaps it was his marriage to Angelina Jolie, a California native, that helped. Whatever the case, Jonny Lee rates our TVS nomination. (To learn more about JLM, check out this In the Limelight).

2. Rachel Griffiths, Brothers & Sisters
Before joining ABC's Brothers & Sisters as Sarah Walker, a typical American working wife and mother living in Southern California, Rachel was fooling us all with her American accent on HBO's Six Feet Under. The accomplished actress was born and raised in Melbourne -- that's Australia. There's not a hint of "shrimp on the barbie" in her speech today when she's in character as Sarah. Reportedly, she's damn good at accents other than American, English, Welsh and, naturally, Aussie.

3. Jamie Bamber, Battlestar Galactica
His real name is Jamie St John Bamber Griffith, which may not be a tip off that he's all British, but it is true. Jamie-boy was born in London, England. From the all-American voice he uses on Battlestar Galactica, he had me completely fooled. I guess all that training at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) has paid off. BSG is not a show that requires an American accent, really, but in the role of a stalwart, upright hero type, producers were likely expecting an all-American voice. That's exactly what they got with Jamie.

4. Anna Friel, Pushing Daisies
Who better to play the quintessential girl next door (okay, across the street) than a classically trained British theater actress? Anna Friel is Charlotte "Chuck" Charles on Pushing Daisies, a genial, bright, perky character who seems to be pure middle-American. She was, in fact, born in Manchester, England, and if you've ever heard a Manchester accent, you know it's a doozy. You can't hear a smidge of Manchester in Chuck, thanks to Anna's uncanny American accent.

5. Hugh Laurie, House
Gregory House is a Jersey guy. New Jersey. He sounds at home at Princeton Plainsboro Hospital. The fact that the man playing House is a Brit never crosses your mind. Laurie was born in Oxford. Not Oxford, Mississippi. Oxford, England. His performance as Dr. Gregory House made him a major star in America, and it's only because of his stardom now that people have discovered he wasn't born and raised in the States.

So there you have them, TV Squad readers, the five nominees we've selected for the Excellence in Outsourcing Award, the best fake American accent. Now, tell us your choice. Next week, we'll reveal our winner and yours.

Oh, one more thing: please check out the other TV Squad Awards still in contention and add your comments. We're counting on your input and appreciate your involvement. Go on and share your thoughts! Make sure you also check out AOL TV's best & worst of TV poll.
Which one of these actors has the best fake American accent?
Jonny Lee Miller143 (8.6%)
Rachel Griffiths75 (4.5%)
Jamie Bamber646 (39.0%)
Anna Friel118 (7.1%)
Hugh Laurie675 (40.7%)

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What about Alex o'loghlin and Sophia Myles, they disurb this prize more than anybody!!!

May 30 2008 at 12:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

what about Alex O'loughlin and Sophia Myles, they disurb this prize more than anybody!!!

May 30 2008 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alex O'loughlin
Alex O'loughlin has a fantastic American accent in Moonlight, which is flawless even during particularly difficult and/or emotive scenes.

May 29 2008 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm showing my age here, and I'm not commenting on her lack of nomination because the show ended years ago, but feel the need to mention Olivia d'Abo's work on The Wonder Years.

Lucy Lawless also does a fantastic American accent and with her recurring work on Battlestar Galactica could have an honourable mention.
[...I've outed myself as a non-American with my spelling of "honourable".]

May 29 2008 at 11:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

HAHA...here we are voting on the best American Accents when the BBC has voted on the WORST Brits using American Accents http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/7421208.stm
2 of the five "best" listed here (Laurie and Friel) made their "worst" list.

May 28 2008 at 2:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think some of you guys are missing the point - the time for nominating has passed. Now we pick from the five people TV Squad has choosen.

I vote for Hugh Laurie!!

Runner-up - Johnny Lee Miller

May 28 2008 at 9:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Both their shows are cancelled but:
Kevin McKidd of Journeyman and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau of New Amsterdam (he's not even from the commonwealth).

I think actors from commonwealth usually speak with proper American accents. The problem is the other way around. Other then James Marsters and couple of more exceptions, American actors' English (or Australian etc.) accents are rubbish. The worst one I remember was Seth Green in the movie The Best Man. For at least ten minutes I thought he was joking...

May 28 2008 at 8:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about Canadians? It takes alot of work for us to change the way we say "About" and "House" for you people! Lol, jk. I voted for Laurie even though he sometimes slips. I do this simply because he's the best actor, not the best voice.

May 28 2008 at 6:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have disagree about Jonny Lee Miller. I could barely watch Eli Stone at first because Miller's bad American accent was so distracting. I didn't know who he was, but it took me 2 minutes to recognize he was British, and another 5 to be so annoyed that he was putting all his energy into his accent and sounding like a robot in his acting.

He definitely got more comfortable, and of course the scripts got better, so I'm glad I stuck with Eli Stone til the end.

I voted for Rachel Griffiths from the above choices, but special mention should go to Anthony LaPaglia (Aus) and Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Brit) on Without a Trace. Their accents are as close to flawless as it gets, including their New Yorkese pronunciations, which even most American actors can't get right.

May 27 2008 at 11:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Jamie Bamber was also in Band Of Brothers...the miniseries about American soldiers. The main character of that miniseries was played by Damian Lewis, who is also British. You can't tell from the show.

Also 3 British guys who do an excellent job are Idris Elba(Stringer Bell), Dominic West(McNulty) and Aiden Gillen (Carcetti) on "The Wire". West's accent isn't that good though he does a good job...in certain scenes you can tell his accent is creaking. One of the funniest scenes in the show is when McNulty has to pretend to be British. A British guy playing an American pretending to be British. It was almost like an inside joke.

May 27 2008 at 10:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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