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Forbes 2011 List of the Highest Paid Actresses

by Melissa Silverstein
July 6, 2011 3:01 AM
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It's that time of year when we get to see who is scoring in the pay department in Hollywood. It's no surprise to anyone that the highest paid actress in Hollywood is Angelina Jolie. She's really the only female who can star in action movies with budgets topping $100 million. I can't think of another woman who stars in big budget films. Yes, there are women in ensembles on big budget films, but the star of one? Just Angelina.

The more surprising thing is that Sarah Jessica Parker ties Angelina for the top. She is a savvy business woman, produced Sex and the City as well as starring in it, and it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Last year Sandra Bullock topped the list at $56 million because of all the money she made on The Blind Side and The Proposal. But last year's dude at the top of the list was Johnny Depp and his score was $75 million (couldn't find the male 2011 list), so clearly women are not getting deals as good as the dudes.

Two years ago Angelina was at the top of the list with $27 million. In 2010, she made just $20 million. And, aside from Cameron Diaz, the list is very white.

The rest of the top 10:

Jennifer Aniston - $28 million

Reese Witherspoon- $28 million

Julia Roberts - $20 million

Kristen Stewart - $20 million

Katherine Heigl - $19 million

Cameron Diaz - $18 million

Sandra Bullock - $15 million

Meryl Streep - $10 million

Here's how the list was compiled:

we talked to agents, lawyers, producers and other industry insiders to come up with an estimate for what each actress earned between May 1, 2010 and May 1, 2011. Earnings consist of pretax gross income. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted.

Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Actresses (Forbes)

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  • G. | March 2, 2012 11:00 PMReply

    meryl streep is by far the greatest actress on this list and yet she gets paid the smallest amount? ridiculous.

  • Troy | January 22, 2012 6:45 AMReply

    Cameron Diaz isn't white? LOL
    Spanish is Caucasian and sorry but have you ever LOOKED at her?

  • Tinashe bedi | October 16, 2011 8:21 AMReply

    Angelina jolie deserves much more than what they are paying her.she is the most talented,strong and beautiful female action star.she should earn at least 25m per movie just like the dudes.jen aniston and meryl streep are by far the greatest actresses on the list.

  • Mark | July 27, 2011 4:35 AMReply

    It’s odd that the writer of this article would refer to Cameron Diaz as non-white, which clearly isn’t true, it makes you wonder if everything else this idiot wrote is true, I don’t think so. Diaz is a Spanish name, Spanish people are white, read a book numbnuts!

  • Nick Taylor | July 11, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    Funny you should say that, because I was just thinking how old they all are. What's the average? 35?

    And of course they're younger than male counter-parts. You really don't expect female sexuality to express itself in male terms do you? When I was at school, all the girls went out with older guys. It never changes. It's archetype. Deal with it.

    re: Angelina being the only female star who can be in $100 M budget action films... oh I don't know, Milla Jovovich gives it a fair crack...

    ... but $100M budget movies tend to be about spectacle rather than... anything else, so they don't really need stars any more.

  • LvFlg | July 8, 2011 7:21 AMReply

    some old, same old.

  • Howard | July 6, 2011 7:31 AMReply

    Is Cameron Diaz not white?

  • Jenn | July 6, 2011 7:22 AMReply

    What's really depressing about this list is comparing it next to a list of the highest paid actors. There's men on there who produce nothing but total bombs year after year that beat out every single female actress. Talk about depressing.

    Also, I really like the contempt for age and artistry this list shows. Some of these actresses have flimsy acting chops. Most are fairly young (average their ages next to the highest paid male actors, it's really depressing). What stands out is what actresses get paid the most: the youngest, the most willing to be overtly sexual and star in movies geared towards a male audience, and those with some serious business acumen (Witherspoon and Parker).

    It's really freaking depressing that Meryl Streep (IMO, the best actor working in Hollywood, male or female, today by a long shot) is so low on the list. Obviously we don't reward artistry.

    Also, the list is overwhelmingly white. There's no black women, Asian women, or even women with a bit more melanin than average. There's certainly no fat women.

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