ByTom Chapman, writer at
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Tom Chapman

Get ready to jump into the pockets of the wealthiest humans in showbizz, for Forbes annual list — the one that tells us which of cinema's leading ladies brought home the big bucks over the past year — has just been released. However, before you pop the champagne corks and get ready to throw your own Wolf of Wall Street style party, there's something pretty troubling about this year's reveal.

The women of Hollywood are typically trailing behind their male counterparts in the paycheck stakes, but the list also uncovers another worrying statistic: Not a single woman of color breached the Top 10, meaning that the likes of Viola Davis and Kerry Washington are nowhere to be seen. Hopefully next year's racially diverse Black Panther — starring Angela Bassett and Danai Gurira — can change this, but who knows. Asian actresses Fan Bingbing and Deepika Padukone have also slipped off the list altogether, leaving us with a particularly small cross section of society this year.

A Whiteout

Academy Award nominated films like Moonlight and Fences played a significant role in the cultural diversity of cinema in 2016-2017, but unfortunately, the same can't be said for the industry as a whole. You only have to look back over the year's releases to see that whitewashing controversy has been at feverpitch thanks to the likes of Doctor Strange and The Ghost in the Shell. While the white actresses at the center of these debacles don't make the list, it is still shocking that no women of color have made it either. As for PoC in cinema, it still seems we are still taking them for granted when it comes to the fairer sex.

Forbes Top 10: The Countdown

However, away from race relations the big winner of the year was America's sweetheart Emma Stone, who finally toppled J-Law from the top spot as queen of the cash. Thanks in no small part to Damien Chazelle's La La Land, Stone netted an impressive $26 million over the past year and increased her earnings from $10 million in the 2015-2016 period.

Sneaking into second place, former Friends star Jennifer Aniston earned an equally hefty $25.5 million and just misses out on beating Stone. While we may be used to seeing Aniston in the likes of We're The Millers and that long list of rom-coms, her bottom line is boosted mainly thanks to advertising campaigns with companies such as Emirates and Smartwater, and, of course, the rekindled love affair with Friends since it landed on Netflix.

While Jennifer Lawrence may be gutted to be taking home the bronze, I'm sure the blow will been softened by her bumper bank balance of $24 million. That being being said, without The Hunger Games to be forever in her favor, Lawrence's salary was around half of what she took home for the 2016 list.

The Top 5 are rounded off by funny girl Melissa McCarthy with $18 million and brunette beauty Mila Kunis in fifth place thanks to $15.5 million. The rest of the list remains largely the same, with Beauty and Beast's Emma Watson being the only newcomer to find herself in sixth place.

There are also no surprises for guessing that the final entries include Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, and Amy Adams (respectively). Given that Charlize is currently kicking some serious ass in Atomic Blonde and Blanchett is sticking on her horns for Thor: Ragnarok, expect these two in particular to rise up the rankings next year. Also, with the blockbusting success of Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, we can surely expect Gal Gadot to fly her invisible jet onto 2018's list.

Stone herself recently spoke about the gender pay gap in Tinsel Town, so it is some relief that she find herself topping the lineup — that being said, it is still a long way off Dwayne Johnson's $64.5 million from last year. As for the numbers, well it seems that the past year has been quieter for our starlets. While the 2016 figures saw a combined total of $205 million, this year was a (still respectable) $172.5 million. Don't worry too much though, I'm sure these girls can go home to cry into their golden pillows or wrap themselves in sheets of money to get over this little hiccup.

Do you think it's outrageous that no women of color made the Top 10?

(Source: Forbes)


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