Special Report

Foreigners Who Were Famously Praised for Playing Real-Life Americans

Biopics are a Hollywood staple. And since Hollywood is the center of American entertainment, most biopics are centered on real-life Americans. Much is at stake when filmmakers set out to create a movie based on a true story, and casting the right actor for a role is crucial. As it turns out, the perfect actor to portray a real-life American is sometimes … a foreigner.

To compile a list of foreigners who have been praised for playing real Americans, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the IMDb profiles of nearly 50 actors who have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Only actors who were born outside the United States and have won or have been nominated for an Oscar or a Golden Globe for portraying real-life Americans were selected.

All but one of the actors on the list were born in countries where English is either the official language or commonly spoken. But that doesn’t mean playing Americans is easy. Actors often have to work hard to perfect their American accent. Oftentimes, they have vocal coaches on set to train them how to speak in whatever regional variation they need for the role.

When filmmakers say a movie is based on true events, they often mean that moviegoers are going to see a story based on a real event and not a documentary. But they could also mean that not all facts are accurate, and that – in addition to casting mistakes and script mishaps — sometimes results in a spectacularly bad movie. These are the 50 worst movies based on true events.

Click here to see foreigners who were famously praised for playing real-life Americans