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Article – The Biggest Female Stars


Posted April 2, 2014 by

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The Biggest Female Stars

With the success of Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence has been lately been tagged as Hollywood’s biggest star and it made me wonder if that’s really the case. Let’s take a look at Hollywood’s biggest female stars.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty stuff it would be wise to clarify what one might mean by the term Hollywood star. My interpretation is a combination of two things: be loved by critics (at least the majority of them) and audiences alike. To translate this into tangible terms: win awards and make money for the studios.

Box Office Success

First, let’s review the financial aspect of stardom. Actresses often suffer from having to portray massively under-developed film characters or by simply being there as eye-candy, therefore I was only taking into account films where the female character was essential to the story and/or would be one of the main draws in the films (Mila Kunis in ‘Ted’ is just the girl who gets between the two main characters, but she qualifies for her role in ‘Black Swan’. And as much as I like Scarlett Johansson – nobody cares about her in ‘The Avengers’ or about Natalie Portman in ‘Thor’). Also, please bear in mind I have only considered the top 20 films at the box office for each year.

Now that we established the rules, let’s take a look at the most successful actresses at the World-wide box office:

Kristen Stewart – dominates the “twenty-tens” list so far with $2.6 billion (!!), thanks to her turn in the Twilight films (‘Eclipse’ and both parts of ‘Breaking Dawn’) as well as in Universal’s ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’.  Stewart’s next massive hit, the sequel to ‘Snow White’, has been announced for a 2015 release. Don’t expect her to give up #1 place without a fight.

Emma Watson – is in second place with a total of $2.3 billion thanks to her role as Hermione Granger in ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1’ & ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’. With no franchises in sight so far, Emma Watson is likely to move lower in the list by the end of 2014, only ‘Noah’ will be making any splash at the box office (pun intended).

Jennifer Lawrence – breaks to 3rd position with her involvement in the X-Men franchise (‘First Class’ grossed $353 million globally) and ‘The Hunger Games’ series (the first 2 parts grossed $1.5 billion combined). Lawrence is likely to top this chart by the end of 2014 and then some. ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ is coming out in 2014 and is looking to be the biggest X-Men film yet and then there is ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay’ which will be released in two parts in 2014 & 2015 (expect >$1bn per film).

Anne Hathaway – sits in 4th position with a solid $1.5 billion (The Dark Knight Rises & Les Misérables) and since she is involved in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ I would expect her to stay in top 5 at least until 2015.

Mia Wasikowska – in at number 5 for her role in Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ ($1 billion World-wide). Mia is likely to disappear from the top 10 by the end of 2015, unless she gets a role in Star Wars Episode 7 or some other franchise.

The rest of the list features Sandra Bullock (‘Gravity’), Angelina Jolie (‘The Tourist’ & ‘Salt’), Noomi Rapace (the awful ‘Prometheus’), Kate Winslet (‘Titanic 3D’) and Mila Kunis with Natalie Portman (‘Black Swan’).


Kristen Stewart


Emma Watson


Jennifer Lawrence


Anne Hathaway


Mia Wasikowska


Sandra Bullock


Angelina Jolie


Noomi Rapace


Kate Winslet


Mila Kunis


Natalie Portman


Critical Acclaim

Just as with the financial aspect, I need to establish some rules for the second part of my analysis as well – I will only be looking at the major awards and will consider both wins and nominations (each count for 1 point). The awards that qualify are:  Academy Awards, BAFTAs, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice & Screen Actors Guild.

The box office numbers would suggest that Hollywood’s biggest star is, in fact, Kristen Stewart. However, the Twilight actress has no wins or nominations to boast with so far in 2010s (who would have thought). Same goes for Emma Watson, Noomi Rapace, Kate Winslet and Mia Wasikowska.

Angelina Jolie has been nominated for a Golden Globe in 2010 for ‘The Tourist’ which leaves her with 1 point. Mila Kunis has been nominated for a Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and twice for Critics’ Choice Award, all this adding up to 4 points. Sandra Bullock has 8 points in total for seven nominations and one win (Critics’ Choice Award / Best Actress in an Action Movie for ‘Gravity’).

Natalie Portman’s performance in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan has earned her 5 wins out of 5 nominations, which leaves her in 3rd position with a total of 10 points. Breathing down Portman’s neck, in 2nd place, is Anne Hathaway with 11 points for four wins and seven nominations (for her performances in ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘Love & Other Drugs’).

And the most critically acclaimed actress of the decade so far is….you have probably guessed it – Jennifer Lawrence! The young star has collected a total of 23 points for seven wins and sixteen nominations between 2010 and 2013 (not to mention her wins/nominations for American Hustle this year).


Of course, with only 1/3 of “twenty-tens” behind us, it is way too early to predict who will come out on top by the end of December 2019. Our analyses suggest a showdown between Jennifer Lawrence (who can not do wrong at the moment) and Anne Hathaway. For now, Miss Lawrence has the upper hand.

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Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 19.25.38

Imo Babics
Freelance Contributor

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