By Emily Feimster
Get the sweet tea and fried chicken ready, folks, because we're about to unveil our top 10 favorite born and bred Southern movie stars currently making big waves in the biz. We're not talking about who's the best actor of all time or who sells the most movies, but rather who embodies that confident, down-home charm only found below the Mason-Dixon Line. Hold on to your belt buckles - it's going to be a hootin' hollerin' good time!
1. Matthew McConaughey - He may not win an Oscar anytime soon but no actor has stayed truer to his Southern roots than this Texas-born beefcake. After attending the University of Texas at Austin, Matthew headed to Hollywood, bringing his charm and thick accent with him. Not to mention a slew of fraternity brothers that he hired to work for him. He may have access to every luxury known to man, but he proved to still be a good ole' boy when he traveled around the United States in his personal Airsteam trailer for a month to promote his movie "Sahara."
2. Ashley Judd - No actress in Hollywood exudes the kind of Southern belle qualities like one Miss Ashley Judd, who grew up in Kentucky and Tennessee. She's strong, elegant, and classy - until college basketball season, that is. Though she left the University of Kentucky just one semester shy of graduating, she is such an avid fan of their Wildcats basketball team that she once didn't shower because she felt it would jinx them. And let's not forget the fact that her mother Naomi and half-sister Wynonna were one of country music's most dynamic duos.
3. Julia Roberts
- Being the highest-paid actress in Hollywood, this woman truly is America's sweetheart. Few could guess how successful the pretty woman born Julie Fiona Roberts in Smyrna, Georgia, would become. All it took was her role as the charming Southern gal Shelby in "Steel Magnolias" to make audiences fall in love with her. Despite her fame, she's still always had a taste for all things country. After all, she did marry country singer Lyle Lovett but we'll let that one slide. Now she's living the good life with hubby Danny Moder, twins and all, at their ranch in Taos, New Mexico.
4. Morgan Freeman - Born in Memphis, Tennessee, he's one of the world's finest actors. He's played a slew of Southern characters - all of which embodied a sense of strength, charm, and pride - his most famous one being Hoke in "Driving Miss Daisy." The Oscar-winner may be well sought after in Hollywood, but he chooses to spend his time living in Mississippi, where he opened the Ground Zero Blues Club in 2001.
5. Sandra Bullock - Having once said that her favorite drinks are beer and tequila, this Virginia native is the epitome of a tough Southern chick. Before hitting it big, Bullock stayed in the South while studying acting at East Carolina University in North Carolina. Now that she's super famous, she could live anywhere in the world, but she spends most of her time at her house in Austin, Texas along with new hubby, bad boy Jesse James.
6. Renee Zellweger - This Texas native certainly gets big points in our books after nabbing country music's biggest star, Kenny Chesney. Yep, some girls get all the luck! Having graduated from the University of Texas, Renee held off on Hollywood by staying in her home state where she ended up grabbing roles in "Reality Bites" and "Empire Records." We guess there really is no place like home!
7. Oprah Winfrey - Ok, so she may not have much of a Southern accent anymore, but this billionaire talk show host and movie star knows a thing or two about growing up in the South. Born in Mississippi and raised in Tennessee, Oprah went on to make a better life for herself after attending Tennessee State University. Since then, she's been able to draw on her Southern roots to help her in movies such as "The Color Purple" and "Beloved." She continues to use her grace and charm to put people at ease and make changes all over the world.
8. Billy Bob Thornton - With a name like Billy Bob, there's no way we could leave him out. Not only does he make no effort to hide his super thick accent, but this Arkansas native is proud of his roots. In fact, his hometown once declared it "Billy Bob Thornton Day." There, he was remembered for loving milkshakes and rock 'n' roll. He's also told stories of how he was put in the paper for being the fattest baby born in his county. Only in the South!
9. Owen Wilson - He grew up a self-proclaimed troublemaker in Dallas, Texas along with brothers Luke and Andrew. When not being distracted by his crooked nose, it's easy to still detect a slight accent in his voice. Like all the other Texas folks, he too attended the University of Texas at Austin.
10. Holly Hunter - Despite being famous for her brilliant acting, no other actress is more known for her Southern accent than this lady. Having been born in Conyers, Georgia, she had a true Southern upbringing as the youngest of seven children. Whew! Her father worked part-time as a farmer on a 250 acre farm and in 10th grade she placed 8th nationally in a poultry-judging contest. Now if that isn't enough to get her on this list, we don't know what is!