Everything Austin Butler Has Said About His Buzz-Worthy Elvis Accent Before the 2023 Oscars

Before Austin Butler attends the 2023 Oscars on March 12, see how the Elvis star has responded to the suspicious minds curious about his Elvis Presley accent.

By Mike Vulpo Mar 11, 2023 2:30 PMTags
Watch: Austin Butler on How He Hopes to Pay Homage to Elvis at 2023 Oscars

Austin Butler sure has fans all shook up.

Yes, the 31-year-old has impressed movie critics with his performance of the late Elvis Presley in Elvis. And his close bond with the musician's extended family—including Priscilla Presley and the late Lisa Marie Presley—could melt hearts.

But the actor also can't avoid fielding questions about his accent and transformation into the king of rock ‘n' roll. 

"It's hard for me to talk about," he told E! News' Laverne Cox at the 2023 Golden Globes. "I can't really reflect on it too much. It's just this process—I don't know the difference." 

What is certain is the opportunity to play a music icon has impacted Austin's life for the better. And if he wins the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role trophy at the 2023 Oscars on March 12, Austin would certainly have Elvis to thank.

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"It's hard to quantify a way to properly pay homage," he told E! News' Chief Correspondent Keltie Knight at the 2023 SAG Awards. "It's changed my life, the experience of getting to live in his shoes and look out of his eyes for that amount of time. It's been one of the greatest gifts of my life."

Before the biggest award show kicks off, keep reading to see everything Austin has shared about his unforgettable accent, including why it's still noticeable nearly nine months after Elvis was first released in theaters. 

Don't Be Cruel

Before Elvis was released in June 2022, Austin Butler warned moviegoers that he couldn't exactly shake his transformation of Elvis Presley off. "At this point, I keep asking people, ‘Is this my voice?' because this feels like my real [voice]," he told Entertainment Tonight the same month. "It's one of those things where certain things trigger it." 

Mission Accomplished

When signing up for the Elvis role, Austin had one goal in mind. "When I began the process of this, I set out to make my voice identical to his," he told The AU Review in May 2022. "That was my goal, that if you heard a recording of him and heard a recording of me, you wouldn't be able to tell the difference."

Work in Progress

After Austin's publicist warned him about the conversation on social media surrounding his accent, the actor made it clear he was "getting rid" of it. It just won't happen overnight. "I have probably damaged my vocal cords with all that singing," he said on BBC One's Graham Norton Show in February 2023. "One song took 40 takes."

Let Him Explain

Still not satisfied with Austin's explanation? He has another reason. "I guess after three years of doing everything that I could to focus on this one goal of trying to bring life to Elvis in this film, I think that there's certain muscular habits that must pop up," he told the Los Angeles Times in January 2022. "If I was trying to sound like Elvis, I would sound very different right now. I think it's sort of amusing to me how much people want to focus on this one thing."

Defending His Voice

After winning the 2023 Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Drama Film, the actor was asked about his accent again backstage. "I often liken it to when somebody lives in another country for a long time," he explained in the press room. "I had three years where [Elvis] was my only focus in life, so I'm sure there's just pieces of my DNA that will always be linked in that way."

Support System

"What you saw in that Golden Globes speech, that's him," Austin's voice coach Irene Bartlett told ABC's Gold Coast in January 2023. "It's genuine, it's not put on. I feel sorry people are saying that it's still acting [but] he's actually taken [the voice] on board. I don't know how long that will last, or if it's going to be there forever."

Unknown Future

Perhaps the secret to bidding farewell to the accent is earning a new acting role. "I know that I'm constantly changing," he told ELLE Australia in June 2022. "Check in with me in 20 years when I've played a lot of roles, who knows what I'll sound like!"

The 2024 Academy Awards air live Sunday, March 10, from 7 to 10:30 p.m. ET/4 to 7:30 p.m. PT on ABC.