When it comes to sounding Irish, most Hollywood stars are full of blarney.
So say more than 20,000 Irish expats surveyed by the language-learning app and platform Babbel, which released its findings Tuesday, on a parade-free St. Patrick’s Day.
Several Irish expat and heritage organizations in the US were given short clips of the highest-grossing movies in which an American actor plays an Irish character in either a lead or supporting role.
The actors were rated from 1 to 5. Alas, most of them didn’t come close, but leave it to Meryl Streep to finish on top. In “Dancing at Lughnasa,” an adaptation of the Brian Friel play of the same name, Streep plays the oldest of the five Mundy sisters, a devoutly Catholic schoolteacher whose accent rated a solid 3.
Hard on her sensible heels was Brad Pitt, whose accent in “The Devil’s Own,” in which he plays an IRA member dispatched to gather missiles, scored a 2.6.
The actor ranked most likely to make the Irish cough up their corned beef and cabbage? That was Michael J. Fox, poor sod. As Seamus McFly, the Irish-born great-great-grandfather of Fox’s hero, Marty McFly, in “Back to the Future Part III,” he scored a lowly 1.1.
Here’s how the 10 non-Irish-born stars fared.
Meryl Streep, “Dancing at Lughnasa”
Streep scored 3 out of 5 points for her role as Kate Mundy in the 1998 film.
Brad Pitt, “The Devil’s Own”
The 1997 action-thriller earned Pitt a 2.6 rating for his role as Francis “Frankie” McGuire.
Julia Roberts, “Michael Collins”
Roberts played Kitty Kiernan in the 1996 thriller — she wasn’t half bad, with a 2.4 ranking for her accent.
Richard Gere, “The Jackal”
Gere played Declan Joseph Mulqueen in the 1997 action flick, scoring just 2 points out of 5 for his accent.
Cameron Diaz, “Gangs of New York”
It was just 1.8 points out of 5 for Diaz, who played Jenny Everdeane in the 2002 Martin Scorsese film.
Tommy Lee Jones, “Blown Away”
The 1994 film had Jones playing Irish terrorist Ryan Gaerity — but not necessarily playing him well, with a score of just 1.7.
Leonardo DiCaprio, “Gangs of New York”
Leo fared worse than Diaz for his role as Amsterdam Vallon in the 2002 film — just 1.4.
Tom Cruise, “Far and Away”
At just a 1.4 ranking for his accent as Joseph Donnelly in the 1992 film, Cruise tied with DiCaprio.
Chris O’Donnell, “Circle of Friends”
With a name like O’Donnell, you’d think he’d do better as Jack Foley in the 1995 film. But it was just 1.3 for poor Chris.
Michael J. Fox, “Back to the Future Part III”
And coming in last place is Fox for his horrible accent as Seamus McFly in the 1990 sequel. Just 1.1 out of 5 for our man McFly.
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