One Day could very well turn out to be the most distracting movie of 2011. Either you couldn’t get attached because you’d read the book and knew the shocking, twist ending that was coming or you didn’t know and were so blindsided you had a hard time enjoying the rest of the film. But, there’s been an even bigger diversion that’s kept people for falling for the weepy, big-screen adaptation of David Nicholls’ best-selling novel: Anne Hathaway’s shaky British accent.
The folks over at LIFE would have to agree. In their list of “The Worst Accents in Movie History” they argue that Hathaway’s Emma is supposed to hail from Leeds, but the actress seemed to have picked up a whole bunch of regional dialects and compiled them into one super-distracting allegedly British accent. Of course, she’s hardly the only star to miss the mark completely when it comes to speaking in a foreign tongue.
LIFE’s list included all-time worst offenders, including the on-screen mangling of British accents (Kevin Costner in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Russian (Liam Neeson and Harrison Ford in K19: The Widow Maker), Indian (Keanu – again! – in Little Buddha), Unintelligible (Angelina Jolie in Alexander), Racist (John Wayne in The Conqueror, Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany’s), and more. Of course, no list of this nature would be complete without the gold standard: Dick Van Dyke’s cockney British accent in Mary Poppins. Anyone who has ever jokingly done a terrible British accent has always inadvertently sounded just like him. (Ahem, Andy Bernard!) Watch and (un)learn:
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Still, there were some left off the list that very well could have been included. My personal vote goes to Helen Hunt for her on-and-off Noo Yawk accent in As Good As It Gets (sort of amazing how many Oscar-winning and nominated performances there are here, huh?), which still bothers me whenever I catch it on cable. But let’s not forget Brad Pitt’s “Austrian” accent in Seven Years in Tibet or Jon Voight speaking Spanish in Anaconda in such a way that Al Pacino’s Scarface would call “over-the-top.” Check out EW’s list from 2009 that included other horrors, like Steve Martin butchering the French language (and Peter Sellers’ legacy) in The Pink Panther and Jessica Simpson’s deep-fried Southern disaster that was The Dukes of Hazzard.
Do you agree with LIFE’s list, PopWatchers? Who was left off that should have been included? Share in the comments section below, awright den?!