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Thursday
Jul262012

Hollywood's Current Hierarchy (According to Vulture)

Recently we discussed Forbes list of the highest paid actresses of the last year but money alone paints a crap portrait about what matters in the movies. Vulture recently released a list of the Top 100 Valuable Stars and weighed numerous factors like Oscar pull, box office, and media interest of various kinds. It's the kind of list that Premiere and Entertainment Weekly used to do in ye olden times, a list with more to say than just "hey, we need more page views, click on me 100 times for random photos with two sentence capsules!").

Since there's way too much to say about a list of 100 for a blog post, let's recap their Actressy stance within the top 100, only 30% of that list (sigh), starting with the undisputed queens...

Queen of Action.
Queen of Everything.
Queen of "America's Sweethearts".

27 more actresses (and commentary) after the jump

Perhaps I shouldn't call them "undisputed" if any of you moviegoers object. I love their little quip on Angelina's erratic filmography.

And her one-for-them (2005’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith, 2008’s Wanted, 2010’s Salt), one-for-me (2007’s A Mighty Heart, 2008’s Changeling) approach has helped her weather the occasional one-for-nobody (2010’s The Tourist)...

 Of the three of them they understand that Sandra Bullock is the one facing a true test in 2013 with the delayed sci-fi drama Gravity.

 

Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone seem perched a little high given their short filmographies. But then again... if you're going to bet on anyone at this very moment, wouldn't it be the two of them? Rachel McAdams is much too high if you ask me given her non-flashy career. Can we really credit her with The Vow's success given that 2012 is already widely regarded as Channing Tatum's year? [He's #25 on their list]

Please to note: Every actress from here on out falls below Shia Laboeuf, Vin Diesel and Jason Statham on Vulture's list. WTF? Actresses get no respect. 

I'm not sure I understand Tina Fey's placement given that the list is clearly about the movies rather than television. I love her as much as you but does Date Night really mean "big movie career!"


 

Given that Vulture admits that Julia Robert has "never fully committed to coming back" and that she no longer seems "hungry" at all, and that her handful of recent movies had disappointing grosses, it seems odd that they still place her in the top 50. It just goes to show you that once you're at the top of the A List, unless you really F*** it up, it can take an awfully long time to fall from the pedestal. (See also Tom Cruise at #15)

If there are two people whose rankings I was surprised by it was Mila Kunis' very high rank and Katharine Heigl's very existence. (Oh yeah, her. The internet actually can't kill mainstream stars, even when it tries) but naturally it's the Anne Hathaway piece I was most interested in reading and I think they kind of nailed her current place in Hollywood, so this is the only one I'll quote in full:

It’s hard to remember that Anne Hathaway once seemed like she’d be a Disney-princess lifer, so deftly has she made the transition to grown-up films. At 29, she still has the air of a really driven theater kid, taking on publicity and Oscar duties with the same amped-up intensity that she did her Academy Award-nominated raw, recovering-addict turn in Rachel Getting Married. And she has just as eagerly skipped between genres, determined to prove she can do it all, from action comedy (Get Smart) to adult drama (Rachel) to romantic comedy (Bride WarsValentine’s Day) to Burton-ized fairy tale (Alice in Wonderland) to steamy romance (Love and Other Drugs) to superhero blockbuster (Dark Knight Rises) and, next, to musical (Les Misérables).

But for all her versatility and talent, she has yet to really connect with audiences as a star they are dying to see. Her biggest hits are more attributed to other people (Alice in Wonderland: Depp; Get Smart: Carell; Devil Wears Prada: Streep) while films marketed with her in the spotlight have failed to connect in the U.S., though she has proven a bigger draw abroad. Love and Other Drugs (widely buzzed about as the “Anne does sex scenes!” movie) did only $32.5 million here, but got up to $70.5 million overseas; One Day did $13.8 million in America, $42.8 internationally. Even with this foreign boost, our studio panel seemed unconvinced about her drawing power, rating her a low four, but this may all change with The Dark Knight Rises. Moviegoers (even those previously agnostic or down on her) have been raving about her turn as Catwoman, and this could give her a major boost considering just how many people will see it.

Please Note: Almost everyone after this on the list falls below Jaden Smith (!!!) on the list. [Translation: The earth is doomed.]

 

 

Aren't Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron way too low given what's happening right this second in their careers? Vulture seems to be banking on a big comeback for Cate Blanchett post movie-hiatus. They write:

She’s a lure for Stateside moviegoers seeking a seal of quality (after starring in seven Best Picture nominees and receiving three nominations and one win herself), but she’s also a huge draw abroad thanks to work in The Lord of the RingsIndiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, all of which did bigger business outside of the states. (Button also proved Blanchett could play an alluring romantic lead.)

...her break is over and Blanchett has no fewer than seven movies on her schedule, among them Peter Jackson’s two-parter The Hobbit, two projects from Terrence Malick, Woody Allen’s new untitled dramedy, and Barbra Streisand’s anticipated return to the director’s chair inSkinny and Cat.

Do you think Cate B is on her way back or do you think she peaked in the mid Aughts?

I'm mystified that Jennifer Garner, who often feels fully retired in every role other than Mrs. Ben Affleck, ranks at all. I can think of a dozen women who seem more essential / bankable / interesting / etcetera to Hollywood's current movies.

THE FULL VULTURE LIST -- that'll keep you busy for at least an hour!

Who do you think is missing?

There simply aren't enough women on it when they're making room for the likes of Jason Bateman, Sylvester Stallone, Sam Worthington, and Chris Pine on the lopsided penis-friendly list.

Frankly, if you're weighing in intangibles like work ethic, auteur appeal, castability, media interest, box office averages, fame and just about everything there is to weigh in, I can't see leaving the always-working-in-her-50s Annette Bening off the list. Or the Fanning Sisters. Or Marion Cotillard...

It's been a long time since I conquered something as expansive as ACTRESSES OF THE AUGHTS and it looks like a more actress friendly overview is needed again in some capacity. I shall draw up diabolically ambitious plans as soon as I complete the other 14 projects I'm late on.

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Reader Comments (35)

The absence of Cotillard is particularly shocking. Especially considering she's been so ubiquitous for the past few years!

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

wow. I'm definitely going to check out the full list . I agree with a lot of it, but If Nate made his own it of course would be more accurate. What about Carey Mulligan ? she's grown so much since 'An Education' with no signs of stopping.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLola

I'm surprised that Nicole Kidman isn't on the list. I know she's had her flops, but so have Anniston and Bullock! Seeing as how box office isn't the determining factor here, that omission seems a bit jarring to me.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

As per usual, the list is full of obvious choices mixed in with ones that make absolutely no sense at all and reek of, I don't know, favoritism. The circle jerk that is Blanchett's blurb being one - as if the overseas grosses of those films had ANYTHING to do with her and not the fact that she was either in a movie with Brad Pitt or playing a supporting part in a already well established franchise.

And Sylvester Stallone in this day and age? Jason Bateman (whom I like)? Really?

LOL I don't know why I bother reading these lists as they almost always piss me off somewhat.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersammy

Kidman, Cotillard, Bening, Penelope Cruz, Julianne Moore, Kirsten Dunst, Helen Mirren.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

I don't get how half of those actress are on this list when none of them have really ever carried a film by themselves that was successful. Like, why is Zoe Saldana on this list? Because of Avatar? The grosses of that film had nothing to do with her. Same with Blanchett, Paltrow, Johansson, etc. If you're going by that logic then Marion Cotillard should have a spot somewhere as she's been in many blockbusters at this point, even though the box office pull of those films, yet again, had nothing to do with her or her bankability. And if you're just going with the respectability and awards aspect, she should still be there along with the aforementioned Kidman. Or even someone like Helen Mirren would make sense over a lot of these actresses listed. And that's just on the actress side!

I really think they just threw in some obvious names as well as their favorites and if they could get by with putting them on the list at all, they did it. Some of these choices make no sense.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

Since Dear John did about 50 mil less than The Vow with little real difference in quality, I would say, yes, McAdams deserves some credit. While 2012 has been a great year for Tatum, he isn't some sort of 100 mil draw based on his appearance alone. The Eagle was just last year and flopped hard, and his appearance certainly didn't do miracles for Haywire. He needs the right costars and the right hook so his collaborators should totally receive due credit.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDan

I feel like some people on here complaining haven't fully read (or fully understand) the criteria Vulture used. Its a mix of domestic box office, international box office, magazine covers, tabloid potential, likeability, oscars, critical score (I think it's a metacritic average) and studio value. All of this cuts off at 5-7ish years (can't remember precisely, but it's the recent past). Studio value and likability in particular don't always match what you would think, but they have valid sources. Box office is given more importance if you're a lead rather than a supporting role. People who have been in a lot of flops in the past 5 years are hurt, since most of this is a median of sorts.
Point being, they have very valid criteria, do some research on their site, very well explained, despite whether or not your fav actress made the list.Cotillard for example, has only 1 supporting role in a big hit (Inception) that counts on this list (TDKR is too recent). Nine probably brought her down a bit. The fact that she hasn't led ANYTHING major (studio wise) is, I'm sure, a huge reason she hasn't made the list. Kidman, for example, has worked very little in the past 5-6 years, so she's already at a disadvantage in this ranking. To boot, her more recent work has been more indie driven. Hence, she doesn't make the current list. That doesn't mean Kidman (or insert whoever your favorite is) isn't the most exciting actress working today.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I'm a hopeless fanatic, so I'm biased in an extreme way but....where's Tilda Swinton? I mean, be honest, is there another actress out there that is defining what lead female roles in arthouse projects look like more than Swinton? At least towards the end of the list would have been acceptable.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean D

You actually missed three female actors from their list...

91. Kate Beckinsale
92. Julianne Moore
93. Blake Lively

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher

I'm sorry, am I blind or did they skip Viola Davis? Zoe Saldana is the only woman of color on the list and only 30 out of the listed 100 most valuable in Hollywood are women...how surprising. Because women and people of color have no value. Add the exclusion of my beautiful, perfect Marion Cotillard and the equally perfect Nicole Kidman and this list is just ridiculous.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTB

Christopher -- EEK. error. I saw them and somehow didn't include them. fixed. thanks for the catch.

TB -- yeah, after The Help, how do you exclude Viola?

July 26, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Adam, I get what you're saying, but by that definition (why Cotillard or Kidman didn't make the list), I don't understand how, say, Blanchett is as high as she is when she hasn't been working much at all recently in film due to her time running the theatre in Sydney and even then, her "blockbusters" are not hits because of her in any way, shape, or form. She's not the lead in any of them, and the closest she comes is in Benjamin Button but even then, it's totally Pitt's show and he's the draw there. And though she's been seen on a few magazine covers over the past couple years, she's never been a "tabloid" draw, either (not that that is a bad thing). It just seems odd. They seem to be betting that just because she has a bunch of projects lined up (some of which haven't even begun filming) that spot is deserved, when outside of the awards and respect, she doesn't really fit their criteria all that much? And she's certainly not the only one.

I suppose the fact that she's appeared in that many Best Picture nominees is what did it? I dunno, I guess but It just seems that hey're not really following their own rules. I also don't like the idea that they don't appear to take independent films into consideration all that much. I understand that studio films are on a completely different level, but by their definition, do indie films not ever turn in a profit?

Also, fucking Katherine Heigl? What in the ever loving fuck is that about? Did she have a random monster hit after Knocked Up/27 Dresses that I haven't heard about (it's not like I care to follow her)? I guess because she throws a random hissy fit ever few months that makes her a tabloid draw even though it's never really good press. But I guess in this instance the "any press is good press" saying is true.


More things bother me than not about this list, I guess.

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterswh

I know the institutional racism in Hollywood is so obvious and prevalent now that talking about the lack of non-white actors on lists like these feels to some like people are beating a dead horse, but really, there are 8.5 POC on that list - Keanu Reeves is half-asian - only one of whom is a woman (who's placed at 99). That is so effing discouraging.

Also, if you modify the criteria to list it only for "likeability", Jason Statham is apparently no. 3? Did I miss a Statham cult being created in the past year or something? How is he ranking that high?

July 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

Okay, skewing the criteria to show only one must screw up the rankings somehow/be broken on my computer because I did it for Critics' Score and Blake Lively somehow comes in at 28 above Meryl Streep and Daniel Day Lewis. That explains Statham's inexplicable placing for likeability.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlice

Mila Kunis above Hathaway? Anyway...

There is the optionm of adjusting the criteria and once I put Oscar as the major factor, Meryl was no1 on the list (naturally) but Winslet was no21???

And where is Viola? Oscar nomination AND co-leading a hit movie.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

I'm no die-hard fan or anything, but surely #38 is a ludicrously low ranking for Kristen Stewart. Considering her drawing power and current celebrity status, a Top 20 (or even Top 10) finish seems more in order.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGuy Lodge

Guy -- and here I was silently congratulating them for not placing her up high given that there is so much subjectivity here. I understand that the tabloids are crazy about her and that the fans are crazy about Twilight. But like Daniel Radcliffe's very high placement I wonder about these franchise stars who aren't expected to prove themselves outside of the franchise to be considered a draw -- when isn't it the franchise that's the star? Unless we're all assuming that Snow White proves that people just want to see Kristen Stewart in anything (other than rock star biopics) no matter how badly cast?

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

Oh I love Anne Hathaway.

I understand what they're saying though, I never hear people saying 'I'm seeing the new Anne Hathaway movie', like I hear people saying 'I'm seeing the new Jennifer Aniston movie', how do we live in this world?

How do you think Hathaway could become that leading lady draw Nathaniel?

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeegan

That list is absurd.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

To be honest, I think Julia should be higher up. Hers is still a household name in Hollywood and Mirror Mirror did make 170 M $ world-wide, and Eat Pray Love more than 200 M $ - both films carried by her alone.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbacio

The most shocking thing here is Marion Cotillard's absence! She won an Oscar for 2007's "La vie en rose", in 2009 she stars in the musical "Nine", in 2010 she's the breath-taking dead wife of DiCaprio in Christopher Nolan's "Inception", in 2011 she spreads charm in Woody Allen's "Midnight In Paris" and this year she's part of The Dark Knight Rises and she got Oscary raves for her performance in Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone"...

Plus, Scarlett Johansson and Charlize Theron below Whiterspoon, Roberts, Anniston and Cameron Diaz? REALLY? If they want to talk about money, Theron's 2012 movies grossed around 270 million dollars only in USA and Johansson's The Avengers is "just" the third highest-grossing movie of all-time and let's not speak about critical praise because these two girls aren't starring rom-coms killed by critics...

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEd

We desperately need your list to soothe this bitterness, Nat

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Huang

Anthony H -- noted. I really should do a massive list again of "something"... but what should the criteria be. Hmmmm

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenternathanielr

This list is all kinds of fucked-up, for all the reasons people mention. I was quite shocked to see Charlize so low and Cotillard and Davis not on the list at all, even if it kinda/sorta makes sense. But I'm not convinced about Zoe Saldana. Yes, she was a major part of Avatar and Star Trek, but did Colombiana (her only real headlining role) really do THAT well? I love her, but until she can open a non-franchise film, I'm unconvinced. Penelope Cruz really deserves a spot, as do the Dames Mirren and Dench. And, if you go by the apparent criteria for the men, then Mila Jovovich deserves a spot too. She's the only reason they're still making Resident Evil flicks (which do better on average than Kate Beckinsale's Underwold films).

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Nathaniel,

As for criteria, I think a series of reader polls are in order!

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I love Vulture, but I think this entire list is inane.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Some comments on Paltrow and Moore??

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercinephile

I really should do a massive list again of "something"... but what should the criteria be. Hmmmm

Don't have a big idea to add, but I'd love to read your classification/subheadings for them. There're some in this list which are spot on (Aniston and Lawrence in particulary), but there are also some lazy ones (the gossiped- about girl? common).

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

iggy--My personal favorite was the one for Mark Wahlberg: "Smarter than He Looks." Heh. I'm also fond of "The Reformed Cheeseball" for Matthew McConaughey.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

I'm actually surprised Streep isn't ranked higher. But I am biased.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Kidman's absence is mystifying considering she beat out many actresses for the much-coveted Grace Kelly role--which she is completely wrong for--simply because she sold very well to international buyers.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I think the list is more based on celebrity status rather than actual worthiness of their careers. A woman like Kirsten Dunst is way much more talented than, say, Katherine Heigl. Same as Kidman, Bening, Cruz or Mirren.

July 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPablo (Col)

Bia -- honestly i find it weird that people think Kidman is all wrong for Kelly. I could see it working perfectly well. I think part of the problem is that people are thinking of the young 20something Kelly from her very short film career and not the older Royal Kelly that the movie is actually about.

July 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

I had no idea that people thought Kidman was wrong for Grace Kelly. Huh. Makes perfect sense to me.

July 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.
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