Erik Singer is a dialect coach for the movies. That means he specializes in teaching people how to do accents. So Wired brought him in to discuss accents in movies. Man oh man are a lot of them wrong. Well, not Lindsay Lohan’s weird fake accent level wrong, but still pretty wrong.
The four best accents put on by actors and actresses, according to Singer, are Angelina Jolie in Maleficent, Renee Zellwegger as Bridget Jones, Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, and, of course, Daniel Day-Lewis in Gangs of New York.
Apparently nobody can do a Southern accent. When testing Nicolas Cage (Con Air) and Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds), neither of them got the accent right. Brad Pitt can’t do accents in general, as he also missed on a German accent in Seven Years in Tibet.
Oddly, another good one was Mel Gibson in Braveheart, which Singer says is an underrated performance. Yes, Gibson misses on some of it but for the most part gets it right. He also compliments Heath Ledger on both Brokeback Mountain and as the Joker in The Dark Knight.