This may seem deeply unpatriotic but I am have to protest at some arrant nonsense.
In today’s Guardian Charles McNulty claims that the best actors are British. Are you mad?
This unlikely claim is based on Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Peter O’Toole and Kate Winslet being in line for Oscars today. OK, these are all great actors but only one of them is likely to be under 50. So, it’s really more like saying Britain used to have the best actors.
An RSC-style delivery really impresses the helll out of Americans. The masters and mistresses of the style, from the bloke who played Jean-Luc Picard to the bloke who plays Gandalf are briliant.
However, most good acting has to work on the tv and dvd. The “acting” needs to be unobtrusive and understated and convince us we’re looking at real-life characters rather than Shakespearen declaration. And Americans just win hands down on this.
I’m sure that we don’t get the lamest US soaps here, so it’s not really fair to compare the relatively big-budget US productions that make it to the UK with the dross that home-grown television has become. But, I’m still going to. I am ashamed to say that the mass of Americans, from childhood on to old age, can act most British actors off the stage and into the “don’t call us” bin.
Their bit-part actors are immeasurably superior to ours. If they didn’t have a niche for an evil Brit in every known style of film or tv programme, we would produce about five actors a year and they would all be crap.