Forbes released its annual list of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood Thursday and it is not good. Not good at all. It's not Forbes fault of course; this is everybody's issue. Let us explain–we'll start with the winners.
Not surprisingly, Jennifer Lawrence topped the list with her $52 million pre-tax haul. She's the girl on fire onscreen and off, so her first place finish was basically a given. We should also note that she brought in $16.5 million more than the second place actress, Scarlett Johansson. But that's where the good news stops. Ahead is the list of the top 18 actresses in its entirety.
1. Jennifer Lawrence, $52 million
2. Scarlett Johansson, $35.5 million
3. Melissa McCarthy, $23 million
4. Bingbing Fan, $21 million
5. Jennifer Aniston, $16.5 million
6. Julia Roberts, $16 million
7. Angelina Jolie, $15 million
8. Reese Witherspoon, $15 million
9. Anne Hathaway, $12 million
10. Kristen Stewart, $12 million
11. Cameron Diaz, $11 million
12. Gwyneth Paltrow, $9 million
13. Meryl Streep, $8 million
14. Amanda Seyfried, $8 million
15. Sandra Bullock, $8 million
16. Emma Stone, $6.5 million
16. Mila Kunis, $6.5 million
18. Natalie Portman, $6 million
Now at first glance this is great. Look at all these great performers makin' paper. But then we have to remind you that this is the perfect example of the still-shocking Hollywood pay gap. Forbes points out that these 18 women made a combined $281 million in 2015, whereas the magazine's list of the highest paid male actors made a combined $941 million. That is a whopping $660 million dollar difference.
Now there are a few caveats with this figure, the main being that the male list included 34 actors while the female list included only 18. But, that's because Forbes basically couldn't find enough actresses with high salaries to round out the list, whereas they could have kept going and going with the group of highly-paid men. Only three women in Hollywood made over $20 million this year (number four on the list, Bingbing Fan, makes films in China), whereas a mind-boggling 21 men pulled in that figure or higher.
And even worse, the cutoff salary for women was $6 million and the cutoff salary for men was $13 million. It's all very depressing, really. There are several reasons why men could be earning so much more and they're all maddening–either men are pulling in more big roles each year than their female counterparts, or they're getting way more money per film. It's clear that both these factors are contributing to the disparity.
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So while we applaud the awesome and hard-working women on this list, we also do so with a shake of the head. Here's hoping that next year's results will be a little more even.