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American accents done by non-Americans

Over at the Dialect Blog they’ve listed their top 10 American accents done by non-Americans. The post is based on an article at USA Today which looked at American accents by non-American TV actors.

The two lists are united in choosing Hugh Laurie (House) and Idris Elba (The Wire) as having excellent American accents. Having never seen The Wire, I can only comment on Hugh Laurie’s accent, which I find a little odd. To me it sounds American-adjacent; I recognise that it’s supposed to be American but for me it’s just a bit too odd sounding. I do agree with the Dialect Blog though about Laurie’s portrayal of a different type of American, it’s refreshing to see this in amongst the bland and stereotypical characters we see on a lot of shows.

Having occasionally tried an American accent myself, I can attest to the difficulty of switching from your native accent (good thing I’m not a professional actor!). Who do you think does a great job with accents?