“The tides of Hollywood are changing—for better and for worse.
If you want any indication of how actresses are progressing in the industry, follow the money. On the heels of Forbes‘ annual list of highest-earning female movie stars, it’s clear that there are benefits to being an actress in 2016 as opposed to previous periods.
Leading the pack this year is Jennifer Lawrence who, at 26 years old, has garnered four Oscar nominations, one win, topped the list for the last two years and came in second place for the previous two. However, it’s Forbes‘ runner up that has caught our eye.
Funny lady Melissa McCarthy secured the second spot after a year of anticipated blockbusters, including the notable Ghostbusters reboot. However, her positioning is particularly notable considering she was once regarded by some as unbankable because of her size. After having launched to stardom as the laughable sidekick in Bridesmaids, McCarthy has defied the traditional expectations of leading ladies by sticking to comedies—often raunchy—in lieu of whimsical romances. Having steadily risen in the highest-earning ranks from third to second place since 2015, it’s a clear signal that not all of Hollywood’s female elite must come in a size 2.
Nor must they stick to the serious. Two of the top five ranked actresses, McCarthy and Jennifer Aniston, are predominantly comedic stars. It seems the money flows more freely when hysterical laughter is involved, as opposed to decades ago when the industry was predominantly lead by femme fatales.
In fact, the ingénue seems to have lessened its demand in favor of more mature characters. Half of the women on Forbes’ highest-earning list are above the age of 40—combine that with the fact that Sandra Bullock became People‘s oldest “Most Beautiful Woman” at 51 years old last year and it’s safe to say, Hollywood is loosening its reins on its longstanding ageism and willing to shell out millions in the process.
While the list highlights women of different sizes, ages and genres—they are still not as diverse in ethnicity. Of the top ten women ranked, only one actress is Chinese and only one is Indian…”