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Kate Winslet has acted using a variety of accents (Picture: Getty)
Kate Winslet is a Hollywood icon who has developed the reputation of being spectacular at accents.
As a performer, the 45-year-old has never been afraid to try new things.
In The Reader she played a German concentration camp guard, in The Dressmaker she played an Australian dressmaker, and in Steve Jobs she played a multilingual Armenian Polish computer executive.
Sure enough, Winslet has portrayed characters with a variety of American accents – and she’s even played an Australian.
Here we have ranked some of the best (and worst) accents she has done in both film and TV.
1. The Dressmaker
This may be where our bias is showing but we strongly believe that the best accent Winslet has ever done was during an Australian film in 2015.
Starring in The Dressmaker, Winslet plays Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage, a dressmaker who returns to her small Australian town to seek vengeance on those who wronged her after being wrongfully accused of murder as a kid.
The way Australians speak is often referred to as lazy by linguists. We use d’s instead of t’s and sometimes skip vowels altogether (how y’goin?). The accent has an absence of a strong ‘r’ pronunciation and uses inflection at the end of sentences, which can make statements sound like questions.
Take the word of an Australian – Kate blew it out the park.
She was so incredibly convincing, that it’ll take around 40 minutes of watching the film to remember the actress is actually English.
We’d go as far as to say that it’s the best Australian accent we’ve ever heard from someone who isn’t from the country.
2. Mare of Easttown
Winslet has been receiving high praise for her role as small-town Pennsylvania detective, Mare Sheehan in the show Mare of Easttown.
While Winslet has been investigating the murder of a local girl in her close-knit community as the character Sheehan, viewers have been impressed by her southeastern Philadelphia accent.
The star’s long-time vocal coach recently revealed that Winslet is an ‘accent nerd’ so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by her mastering of the Delco tones.
Winslet does an incredible job at achieving the dialect, with its subtlety, detail and connection to the character. It doesn’t feel like she’s putting on an accent; it feels like she’s playing a character who happens to be from a certain region.
So often while watching the show, it was easy to forget she was putting on an accent at all. No wonder she’s being praised internationally for her portrayal.
3. The Reader
The 2008 romantic drama The Reader had Winslet doing a German accent throughout the film. This has to be high up there on the list, Winslet did win an Oscar for her performance after all.
The film follows Michael Berg, a German lawyer (played by David Kross and Ralph Fiennes) who, as a 15-year-old in 1958, had an affair with Hanna Schmitz, an older woman. She vanishes, only to reappearance years later as a defendant in a war crimes trial stemming from her acts as a Nazi concentration camp guard.
During the release of the film, she admitted that the accent was ‘really difficult’ and had its own set of challenges. Everyone on set had the same dialect coach – even if they were German – so that everyone sounded similar.
It may not be the best accent she’s done but it is still incredibly impressive. Watching her play, we’re completely transported to Germany.
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
This film follows Joel (Jim Carrey) and Clementine (Winslet), who begin a relationship after a train journey together. The duo are unaware that they had previously been in a relationship because their memories of it were clinically erased.
The accent Winslet achieves in this movie from 2004 is subtle, but this is what makes it seem so believable and natural. The slight indications of a New York accent that surface from time to time from Clementine is quite impressive.
There’s nothing forced about it, as Winslet makes the accent seem so easy. It comes as no surprise that this performance is still being lauded so many years later.
5. Revolutionary Road
Frank (Leonardo DiCaprio) and April (Winslet), a seemingly perfect couple, decide to move to Paris to escape their jaded existence. Their marriage, however, begins to fall apart when April’s pregnancy forces them to forsake their plan.
While Winslet’s performance in this film is impeccable, her accent unfortunately is not. Even though it isn’t bad, there are some points where you can hear her slightly slip, especially when it’s compared alongside DiCaprio’s.
Her portrayal of April is electrifying and while the accent is good, we know she can do better.
Winslet plays Rose, a 17-year-old from an aristocratic family who is engaged to be married. When she boards the Titanic, she meets and falls in love with Jack Dawson (DiCaprio), a working class artist.
This film is a classic for a reason but the accent is so low on the list because Winslet herself has admitted that she hates her attempt in this film.
Watching the movie back, her American accent does seem more forced than others she has done but it is important to remember that she was only 21 while filming.
A 2017 poll found that Winslet had the least authentic American accent by a British performer in a movie. Her role in the 1998’s best picture winner was scored just 2.4 out of five by members of American Actors UK.
While it doesn’t detract from the film, you can tell that Winslet’s accent skills have only improved since.
7. Steve Jobs
This film is based on the life of Apple creator Steve Jobs, as he faces problems in his personal and professional life while trying to launch three products in the market. Winslet plays Joanna Hoffman, an Apple marketing executive and Jobs’ confidant in the movie.
We hate to say it, but this accent is bad, especially by Winslet’s usually impressive standards. Her pronunciation shifts dramatically midway through the movie, going from American to Polish by the end of the movie (Hoffman herself is Polish).
It’s unclear from the film whether this was anything to do with something that happened to Hoffman in real life between 1984 and 1988, or if Winslet’s vocal cords just slipped.
The actress told Vogue at the time that it was the ‘hardest accent’ she ‘ever had to do’.
‘The problem is with an Eastern European accent that you’re only ever a step away from a Saturday Night Live sketch… it really is quite tricky so having her around was great. I couldn’t really copy her and didn’t want to copy her as her own voice is very high pitched.
‘So I had to find a way to make it a little bit easier on the ear – but it was bloody hard.’
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