There is some serious girl power on Forbes‘ first-ever highest paid actresses list, topped by Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence. But then there’s the sobering truth — though the actress made a whopping $52 million last year, she’s still miles behind her male counterpart.
But first, the good news.
Among the highest paid actresses who made the cut with some serious cash flow is number two Scarlett Johansson at $35.5 million, and Melissa McCarthy at $23 million, according to Forbes. Only one non-American made the cut — Chinese actress Bingbing Fan, who’s sitting pretty at No. 4. American audiences have seen her in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Some of the actresses on the highest paid list are surprising — Reese Witherspoon, Amanda Seyfried, and Natalie Portman among them. Some of the ladies actually make most of their money from endorsements and not movies, giving them a spot despite their absence from theaters.
Among this elite group — Jennifer Aniston (Aveeno, SmartWater, Living Proof), Gwyneth Paltrow (Max Factor, Hugo Boss), and Julia Roberts (Lancome, Givenchy, Calzedonia).
And now, for the frustrating part. While no one can argue that these actresses aren’t making tons of money — much more than any normal person — the fact remains that whether a woman works in Hollywood or in an office, she still gets earn less than the boys.
And that fact gets more sobering when you look at the hard facts, provided conveniently by Forbes along with its highest paid actresses list.
Together, these 18 women made a combined $281 million. That’s $660 million less than the 34 wealthiest actors. Together, their earnings near a billion. Only four actresses on the list hit above the $20M mark, and 21 men exceeded that number. Forbes‘ barrier was also lower for women at $6M, while the boys was $13M.
The American Hustle paycheck earned by Amy Adams and Lawrence, the highest earner, was less than that of their male counterparts, a fact that was well publicized at the time. And Lawrence fought tooth and nail to get a huge paycheck in her next flick.
“The really top [actresses] get paid the same thing as their male counterparts, the problem is the averages don’t work because there are not enough parts for women to star in,” explained Sony’s former co-chair, Amy Pascal.
That’s right. Hunger Games, with a strong female lead at the helm, is the exception in Hollywood. In 2014, 21 of the 100 biggest earning movies had female leads, and 28 percent of the characters were women.
Here’s the full list of Hollywood‘s highest paid actresses, via Variety. Hopefully next year, those figures will be much higher.
- Jennifer Lawrence: $52,000,000
- Scarlett Johansson: $35,500,000
- Melissa McCarthy: $23,000,000
- Bingbing Fan: $21,000,000
- Jennifer Aniston: $16,500,000
- Julia Roberts: $16,000,000
- Angelina Jolie: $15,000,000
- Reese Witherspoon: $15,000,000
- Anne Hathaway: $12,000,000
- Kristen Stewart: $12,000,000
- Cameron Diaz: $11,000,000
- Gwyneth Paltrow: $9,000,000
- Meryl Streep: $8,000,000
- Amanda Seyfried: $8,000,000
- Sandra Bullock: $8,000,000
- Emma Stone: $6,500,000
- Mila Kunis: $6,500,000
- Natalie Portman: $6,000,000
[Photos Courtesy Jamie McCarthy, Theo Wargo / Getty Images]