Three Thoughts on Forbes’ Highest-Paid Actresses List

Forbes’ annual list of the highest-paid actresses is out, and three things about it stand out.

1. The ceiling’s not that high: Kristen Stewart is the highest-paid actress on the list with $34.5 million for the entire year. Robert Downey Jr. will make $50 million from The Avengers alone this year. Even women who anchor well-established commercial franchises aren’t as valuable as men who help anchor comparable properties.

2. There’s not a woman of color to be found: Jennifer Anniston’s the lowest-paid woman on the list with $11 million. I’d love to know what Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, both of whom were nominated for Academy Awards, made.

3. A lot of the money on this list wasn’t actually paid to the relevant actresses in salary for movies they made: A lot of these actresses’ incomes come from perfume contracts, endorsement deals, and residuals. That’s terrific, and it would be wonderful if more actresses, like Cameron Diaz, were getting rich backend deals. But it’s worth remembering that these actresses’ salaries aren’t as high as the overall figures quoted here.