Who are the current A-List actresses?

Several times during the WTHH series often emerge complaints about the difficult for actresses to emerge as box-office draws. Hollywood tends to be a place with little space for pardon and second chances for women as many WTHH subject, like Demi Moore, Meg Ryan and Winona Ryder experienced. It is much harder for women to become A-List and is much harder for women to stay on top or forget scandals and bad career moves.

But who are current female A-List in Hollywood? Weeks ago Forbes revealed its yearly list of highest paid actresses. Here is the top 10 of Hollywood’s highest grossing actresses:

1-Angelina Jolie

2-Jennifer Lawrence

3-Kristen Stewart

4-Jennifer Aniston

5-Emma Stone

6-Charlize Theron

7-Sandra Bullock

8-Natalie Portman

9-Mila Kunis

10-Julia Roberts

But do the high paychecks really make an A-List? I don’t think so. P.S. Kristen Stewart sits at number 3, but really I can’t see any future for her now that “Twilight” is over. Yes she made money with “Snow White and the Huntsmen” but without the “Twilight” coattalis will that movie be so successful? No way.  Julia Roberts is still in the top 10 despite the fact that her last efforts, “Mirror Mirror” and “Larry Crowne” both disappointed at the box-office. Same for Natalie Portman who, after her Oscar victory for “Black Swan” made an impressive series of missteps in 2011, and was only rescued by “Thor”. And what about Mila Kunis? She was sucessful with “Ted” and “Oz” but probabily both movies would have been successful even if they cast my grandma instead of her. So, who are currently female A-List in Hollywood if paychecks don’t matter that much? Who are actresses for whom people really pay to see?

Here I’ll try to write about actresses who I think are currently A-List, but I’m also curious to see your opinion on it


Meryl Streep

Three Oscars won out of seventeen nominations; eight Golden Globes won out of 27 nominations, 35 years in the industry and she’s still on top. She played every role possible, she starred alongside all top male actors, she played for every leading director and she seems not yet tired. In 2012 she lead to success the rom-com “Hope Springs”, and received her 27th Golden Globe nomination, a record. Will movies like “Hope Springs”;”It’s Complicated”; “Doubt”; “The Devil Wears Prada”; “Julie & Julia” or “Mamma Mia!” had the same success without her? Probabily not. Expectations for her next movie, “August: Osage County” are extremely high, and high are the buzz for an eighteenth Oscar nomination.


Angelina Jolie

Well, I’m not a fond of Angelina Jolie, but I have to admit, she’s probabily the lone woman able to open a big budget action movie. Without her, no way movies like “Salt” or “Wanted” would have been successful. However it’s been three years since her last starring movie, the critical failure but commercially successful (at least overseas)”The Tourist”. So the Hollywood highest paid actress with the upcoming “Maleficent” will have to show if she still deserves her onerous cachet.


Jennifer Aniston

When both “Friends” and her marriage with Brad Pitt ended many doubt Jennifer Aniston would have been able to survive, but she surprised almost anyone. I’m not a fond of her, and as “America’s Sweethearts” I prefered much more Meg Ryan and Julia Roberts,  but yes Jen has those “cute look” that make her a perfect suit for rom-com. Her string of hits is pretty impressive “Along Came Polly”; “The Break-Up”; “The Bounty Hunter”; “Horrible Bosses”; “Just Go With It”; “Marley & Me”; Bruce Almighty”. She also used her star power to turn profitable low budget indipendent comedies like “The Good Girl” and “Friends with Money”. There’s a big question mark on her future since she has not been able to go beyond comedy. She’s in theatres right now with the comedy “We’re the Millers” where she plays a stripper, seems the R-rated comedy had a promising start.


"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" Premiere - 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival

She came out from nowhere in 2011 and then suddenly she became a critical darling and a box-office draw. She scored a hit and an Oscar nomination for “The Help”, then she scored another hit and a second Oscar nomination (and, in my opinion, she should have won) for “Zero Dark Thirty”.  She scored another hit, though this time not well-reviwed, with the horror “Mama”. Both “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Mama” clearly rely on Chastain performance, she was the lone “big name” in both movies, no doubt that without her bot movies would have not been so successful.  Her next movie, “The Disapperence of Eleanor Rigby: Her” is rumored to give her the third Oscar nomination in a row.


Cate Blanchett

She break into mainastream Hollywood in 1998 winning a Golden Globe and earning an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I, and since then she has never stopped. Cate Blanchett has become the most critical acclaimed actress of her generation, and has worked with almost all the most successful directors in Hollyowood. She often alternates big budget mainstream movies (“The Lord of the Rings”; “The Aviator”; “Benjamin Button”…) and critical acclaimed indie (“Notes on a Scandal”; “Veronica Guerin”; “I’m not There”…). Her latest effort, Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” has attracted universal critical praise and has generated high Oscar rumors. She will also star in the next George Clooney’s work, “Monuments Men”, set to release in December. Cate Blanchett is an actress who gives a movie an air of prestige, personally anytime I see a trailer of a movie starring Cate Blanchett my comment is “There’s Cate Blanchett, probabily is good”.


Melissa McCarthy

If you’re an actress and you’re not an astonishing beauty, it’s hard to be successful. But if you’re also an overweight actress your rise to the top would be extremely hard. And while many comic actor  enjoy success in spit of  their overweight, sadly the same has not be truth for women. But, hey, Melissa McCarthy has been able to make it! She rose to fame with “Bridesmaids” for whom she score an Oscar nomination. But then she surprises everyone scoring two big hits this year with “Identity Thief” and “The Heat”. This girl is the surprise of the year, and she has shown that even overweight women can make it in Hollywood.


Jennifer Lawrence

She rose to promince in 2010, thanks to the indie drama “Winter’s Bone” for wich she scored her first Oscar nomination. Than last year she was arguably the big revelation. “Hunger Games” was a huge hit, both critically and commercially, “H.A.T.E.S.” was panned by critics but performed well at the box-office, and then the rom-com “Silver Linings Playbook” that earned critical praise, commercial success and gave her an Oscar. This year appears to be busy too. She will star in the second episode of “Hunger Games” and she will reteam with “Silver Lings” director David O. Russell and co-star Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”. She will team once again with Bradley Cooper in Susanne Bier’s “Serena”. Both movies are considered potential Oscar contenders. Lawrence is certainly a rising star, but she gotta be careful. The danger of an overexposion are very high.


Emma Stone

Emma Stone is surely one of the most interesting new talent in Hollywood. She paid her dues with supporting roles and finally break into mainstream with her leading performances in surprising hits like “Easy A” and “The Help”. She then was cast as Gwen Stacy for the Spider-Man reboot. This year she made a half-misstep with the disappointing “Gangster Squad”, however the failure of “Gangster Squad” seemed not enough to damage her reputation as a rising star. In 2014 she will reprise her role as Gwen Stacy for the second episode of the Spider-Man franchise and she will star in Inarritu’s comedy “Birdman”.


Marion Cotillard

Many will probabily don’t understand why I put french star Marion Cotillard alongside Hollywood leading ladies, but I’ll try to give an explanation on why I consider her an A-List member. Cotillard rose to fame in her home country in late 90’s, but ’til 2007 she was almost unknown outside France. Then her performance as the legendary singer Edith Piaf in “La Vie en Rose” led her to Oscar victory and worldwide recognition. After her Oscar victory she starred in high profile Hollywood projects like: “Inception”; “Midnight in Paris”;  “The Dark Knight Rises”; “Contagion” and “Public Enemies”. But she also kept working in her home country with the dramamedy “Little White Lies” and with  the critical acclaimed “Rust and Bone” that gave her numerous awards recognition, including nominations for Golden Globe and BAFTA. Maybe in the USA her “star power” is not extremely high, but overseas Cotillard is extremely marketable. “Rust and Bone”, per example, almost totally rely on her shoulder and on her name recognition and performed respectably well in Europe and even in anglo-saxon markets like UK and Australia. Probabily without Cotillard the result would have not been the same. Both Cotillard latest Hollywood releases, “Blood Ties” and “The Immigrant” have premiered on the last Cannes film festival and will be released in the next months.


Anne Hathaway holds her Oscar for winning Best Supporting Actress for her role in "Les Miserables" in Hollywood

For her performance as Fantine in “Les Miserables” Anne Hathaway took all the most prestigious prizes, including Oscar. She also won critical acclaim for her performance as Catwoman in “The Dark Knight Rises”. Both movies have been huge hit at the box-office. Throughout the last decade Anne Hathaway has been able to grow up and get rid of her “Disney” label.  Both her roles as Fantine and Catwoman were supporting performances, but Hathaway did a good job both times. Both roles were extremely tough challenges. With Catwoman she had the tough comparison with Michelle Pfeiffer, while in “Les Miserables” she was probabily the real star, ’cause of Susan Boyle. Despite Fantine dies soon in the book, many were probabily only waiting for her singin’ “I Dreamed a Dream”.  She won both challenges, and can now be considered a legitimate A-List member, but attention, as LeBeau often says, probabily now there’s nowhere to go but down.


Sandra Bullock

Some years ago I wouldn’t esitate to put Bullock on the list, but after her Oscar victory for “The Blind Side” she walked away for some time so I was undecided if putting her on the list or not. It was probabily a wise choice to avoid over-exposion after the Oscar, but now Bullock seems ready to be back in business. Bullock and McCarthy star powers combined made “The Heat” a massive success, and her upcoming movie “Gravity” seems a potential Oscar contender.


Julia Roberts

I started this post contesting the real “star power” of the 10 highest paid actresses in Hollywood. One of my arguments is been that Julia Roberts, who sits exactly at number 10, has had many flops in last years. In the 90’s she was by far the biggest female draw on the planet, but in the last ten years her star power has cooled off. And while “Mona Lisa Smile” and  “Mirror Mirror” were saved by overseas markets, “Duplicity” and “Larry Crowne” disappointed also at the global box-office. In the last ten years her lone true hits has been “Closer” and “Eat Pray Love”, though in “Closer” she’s been overhadowed by Natalie Portman. However her name is still extremely big, and her upcoming collaboration with Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County” has generated high expectations and even Oscar rumors. So, while her carreer has certainly cooled off and the heights of the late 90s are only a pale memory, is not yet time to rule Roberts out as a marketable name.


Cameron Diaz

Her last movie, “Gambit” has not yet been released in the USA, but has yet flopped abruptly in Europe, and last year the comedy “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” disappointed both in the USA and overseas.  But she has many upcoming movies who are potentially hits. Especially her performance in George Clooney’s upcoming movie “The Counselor” has generated Oscar buzz. So it’s not yet time to rule out Cameron Diaz, though certainly her latest moves have damaged her reputation as a highly marketable leading lady. But she has still the chance to recover.


To prevent criticism I decided to put a “Borderline” list. Actress who I ponder to put in the list, but in the end I decided to put her on a “grey zone”. I think they still lack something to be alongside the actress I put on top, and they are:

Natalie Portman: Three years ago I would have no doubt about her status as an A-List, but her string of brutal flops after “Black Swan” is really impressive. She’s young and she can recover.

Charlize Theron: She long paid her dues in supporting roles. She break through in 2003 with “The Italian Job” and the Oscar-winning “Monster” and then she came back to oscurity. “North Country” and “In The Valley of Elah” were prestige indie movies who won critical acclaim, but unfortunately were little seen. After almost ten years of anonimity she suddenly came back to mainstream last year with “Prometheus” and “Snow White”. But I doubt both movies were successful because of Charlize Theron. She needs confirmations

Keira Knightley: She’s probabily the lone actress who can sell period dramas based on her name alone. She was certainly the big draw in both “Atonement” and “Pride and Prejudice”, and also “The Duchess” performed moderately well, but in the last 5 years she made a series of missteps. “Never let me Go” and “A Dangerous Method” were acclaimed by critics, but failed at the box-office. While last year “Seeking a Friend…” failed at the box-office. “Anna Karenina” performed moderately well, and was well received by critics, but box-office receipts were disappointing if compared to her previous collaborations with Joe Wright. Is her carreer cooling?

Kate Winslet: She often skip mainstream roles and prefers indie-movies who hardly becomes hits, but “The Reader” shows that Kate Winslet is able to open a movie on her own. She need more mainstream success to be judged as A-List

Emma Watson: Among the “Harry Potter” three leads she’s probabily the lone who can survive without the franchise coattails. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, who earn critical praise and moderate commercial success, was a good start, but needs confirmations.

Rachel McAdams: Her track record is very solid, but she still needs a hit on her own. When she tried to open a movie on her own with “Morning Glory” the result was a commercial failure.  She need a breakthrough based solely on her shoulder.

Amanda Seyfried: Her track record is good, and she has even scored a hit on her own with “Letters to Juliet”, but in “Mamma Mia!” and “Les Miserables” she was cast as the lead and she was overshadowed by other members of cast both times (Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway). Maybe the upcoming movie “Lovelace” will be the confirmation she needs.

Scarlett Johansson: Ten years ago, after the surprising success of “Lost in Translation”, she seemed unstoppable, but her track record since then has been contradictory, and she’s not yet been able to have a hit on her own. She’s still considered a big promise, ten years after her breakthrough. Maybe it’s time for her to grow up and try to bring a movie on her own shoulders.

Penelope Cruz: In 2001, after having been successful in spanish industry, Cruz started her Hollywood carreer. The beginnning was tragic, with the terrible trifecta “Blow-Vanilla Sky-Captain’s Corelli Mandolin” that gave her a triple Razzie nomination. Since then she have alternated works in Hollywood and Europe, with alternate success. Surely “Volver” success, who became Almodovar’s biggest hit to date, has been possible thanks to her Oscar-nominated performance, but her Hollywood record is still too mixed. Cotillard’s Hollywood record per example, has been much more solid. So she’s a step behind the french star, whose Hollyowood record has been impressive.


Posted on August 8, 2013, in A-List, Movies. Bookmark the permalink. 93 Comments.

  1. Reese Witherspoon is totally A list. So is Kate Hudson ?


    • I’d put Whiterspoon in the “Borderline” list. She never had a good appeal overseas (she’s almost unknown here), she based her success almost on domestic makets alone and now even in the US many of her last releases have been flops. Maybe it’s not yet to rule out a comeback, but the days of “Walk the Line” are long gone. 5 Years ago she was surely on the “Top List”, but now I doubt.

      Kate Hudson had a more international appeal, but it’s been a long time since she last scored a hit. It was in 2009, with “Bride Wars”, who was savaged by critics but performed surprisingly well at the box-office. But then, too many bombs. She’s also a disappointement. She started well with “Almost Famous” but then star in all those stupid comedies, what a waste of talent.


      • For a while, Reese Witherspoon looked like she was the next Julia Roberts. She was huge. But it didn’t last long.

        Kate Hudson was never very big at all. Even Almost Famous was a disappointment at the box office. I’m actually surprised how few hits she has had. You’re right about her waste of talent. She lights up the screen in the right movie. But she keeps making crap.


        • I’m sad about Hudson, really. I still can’t forget seeing “Almost Famous” the first time with that scene when she turns her head – no doubt “a star is born” moment. She & Kat Heigl have the same problem that they can only open romcom movies, and at this moment nobody cares about them. Versality is important in a movie career, but it’s very hard for actresses as they are mostly offered leading roles in romcom or dramas – this is why despite so young JLaw is already at the top of A-List in Hollywood. I fear Rachel McAdams is having the same problem, she is trying to make her work diverse but so far none of them has any success.

          Right now I’m putting money on Emily Blunt – she has almost all qualities for a star (talent / look / likability / versality). She just needs to figure out what “Emily Blunt” should mean to the public,and pick better projects that connect with audience.

          Frankly, I don’t put Emma W, Amanda as “borderline”. I think the problem considering A-List is that we are making this list from an audience’s perspective, and very few actresses / actors become a star or a brand or open movies based on their names alone nowadays with sequels / comic books made etc. If we look from Hollywood casting director / a person in the industry, it will be different.


        • I remember discovering Hudson in 200 Cigarettes. The movie got terrible reviews, but I enjoyed it quite a bit largely based on the revelation of Hudson. I was convinced she would go on to be a bigger star than her mom. Almost Famous just reinforced that assessment. Then she achieved success with rom coms, got pigeonholed and stalled out. Very depressing.

          When I’m thinking about the A-list, I try to get into the heads of casting directors, etc. But since I’m not one, I’m sure I fall short. It’s an interesting proposition. Who do you think casting directors would put on the A-list that audiences would not?


  2. I was excited to see you taking on this topic. It’s complex. It is really hard to pin down exactly what an A-list actress is these days. Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman and Sandra Bullock have long track records. People recognize their names but are they box office draws today? I’m not sure they are.

    I’m currently researching Reese Witherspoon. I don’t think I’d qualify her as A-list today. Her last hit was Four Christmases in 2008. That’s five years ago! She had critical acclaim in Mud last year but most people have never heard of it. It’s been a long time since Walk the Line in 2005.

    Kate Hudson? Hasn’t grossed over 100 million since 2003’s How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. A decade ago. And that’s the only time she’s ever done it. She’s only had two other films to cross 70 mill. The last to cross that threshhold was Fools’ Gold in 2008. She’s headed for WTHH territory.

    Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Chastain and Emma Stone are arguably the new A-list. But none of them have any real track record to stand behind outside of awards or franchises. I don’t think any of them truly sell tickets on their names alone. Maybe Lawrence. But even then I’m not sure.

    Melissa McCarthy has the best claim to the A-list right now. She has a great track record. Yes, she’s had co-stars. But aside from Bullock none of them were proven box office draws. And even Bullock is hit and miss these days.

    Streep is an anomoly. Her career fascinates me. But I think she has to run out of steam soon.

    Hathaway? She sure scored a lot of awards. Can she open a picture? She’s close. But I’m not sure she’s A-list yet.

    Diaz was A-list once upon a time. Can she do anything other than a Bad Teacher sequel?

    I’d rank Charlize Theron higher than say Marion Cotillard who has never opened a movie here.

    Jennifer Aniston is hanging on the A-list. I’m not sure Angelina Jolie still is. I don’t think Cate Blanchett ever was.

    It’s more art than science. A lot of the actresses you named as borderline were exactly where your A-list is a couple years ago. I’m not sure any actress really qualifies any more. Very few actors are truly A-list in this tent-pole driven environment. I’m starting to wonder if the term even means anything anymore.


    • Well, whole things started when I read the news of the Forbes list reported on italian newspapers. It made me think about how many times the question of A-List, of the difficult for women to be box-office draws, on how women are sometimes mistreated in Hollywood, and then the post came out.

      Bullock is a question mark since she walked away for some time after her Oscar victory, so she’s not yet to rule out. However I have to say, her appeal overseas is not very high. Not that she’s unknwon like Witherspoon, but she never had the same success in Europe that Roberts; Kidman or others had. Roberts certainly is not what she was in the 90’s and she probabily won’t ever come back to that level. But she still has a good appeal overseas, as shwon by “Mirror Mirror” and since global box-office is increasingly important I think she’s still a big name. While Kidman’s appeal seems to have faded also overseas in the last years. She maybe can earn other prestigious awards, but her carreer has been severly damaged by poor choices even in Europe.

      Meryl Streep I think is the lone actress who can compete with men. Sure she’s 64 and I don’t know for how long she will be able to continue at this level, but I think that at the moment she’s the biggest female draw. Angelina Jolie is a “wait and see”, she’s been on vacation for years but I’m curious about “Maleficent” she’s truly born to play the villain role. Jennifer Aniston is a surprise, I don’t think she’s very talented and the lone explanation for her success is probabily the fact that she’s so pretty and cute, she’s so girl next door that you forget she’s starring in some of the most stupid comedies ever made.

      Cate Blanchett may have limited appeal in the US, but overseas she’s bankable. Ok, she’s not probabily too interested in make box-office hits, but I think she has earn a certain cult following over the years. She has starred in all those prestigious movies that many people are attracted when they see her name on the screen thinking that f she choose to star in this movie certainly it must have something special. It’s a particular case, she has become an household probabily without even wanting to become famous.

      Hathaway, well, somethin strange happened with “Les Miserables”, she only had a supporting role, she’s on the screen for not too much time but she was the biggest draw of that movie. They even used her performanc ein the trailer ’cause they were playing on the “Susan Boyle” effect. Really, nobody cared about Seyfried, nobody cared about Cosette, they were all waiting for Hathaway playing Fantine and sing “I Dreamed a Dream”. So, in a certain way she opened a movie, “Les Miserables”.

      Cameron Diaz, I still think she can recover, she still has overseas appeal (though “Gambit” performed extremely bad even in Europe) and she has a potential Oscar role in waiting.

      Cotillard is similar to Blanchett. Is an actress whose presence gives a movie an air of prestige, her Hollywood carreer is really impressive for european actresses standards. Binoche, per example, quickly came back to her home country after “Chocolat”, but Cotillard is still here. That has led her too become a main draw for french movies in Europe. Rust and Bone earned 35 mln $, which is a very good result for a french movie, and she was the clear draw of the film. Even in the US, she never opened a mainstream Hollywood pictures, but Rust and Bone made 2 mln dollars which is good for a foreign movie, and being the lone name with a Hollywood carreer she was the big draw. That’s why I consider her someone able to open a movie.

      Charlize Theron had such and impressive string of flops after her Oscar that I consider her more “borderline” than A-List. Her resurrection has been impressive, but she needs confirmations. Plus she’s got very limited appeal overseas.

      McCarthy; Lawrence; Chastain and Stone are new stars so, their carreer is only at the beginning. Certainly now they are on top, how long they will stay?


    • Well, I think the box office performance of Maleficent has confirmed Angelina Jolie’s status as a A-list actress, at least for a while. I don’t think it would have made close to the same amount of money with any other actress in that role, even though as a Disney film with a “name” character, it probably would not have done badly in any case. It’s not a perfect comparison, but her Maleficent did outdraw Charlize Theron and Julia Roberts in similar roles (the evil queens in Snow White). I think Theron and Roberts had more recognizable co-stars too, in Kristen Stewart and Lily Collins.

      But I think at this point, Angelina Jolie’s celebrity is almost independent of her film work. Even though she hasn’t done a live action film for years, you wouldn’t know it from the media coverage she gets. I think she’s one of the public figures that has really mastered her PR.

      I’m also interested in your thoughts about Jennifer Lopez. Would you consider her A-list? She’s another actress that doesn’t act much nowadays but she maintain a high profile because of her other projects and tabloid presence.


  3. Anne was super-hot as Catwoman, but “The Dark Knight Rises” just wasn’t as tightly put together as “The Dark Knight.” I have nothing against Tom Hardy but Bane has never been an interesting character to me. Like “Batman Returns,” “Rises” would have been more effective if it had simply focused on Catwoman & Batman rather than giving another villain the chance to ham it up.


    • Well, what disturbed me of “the Dark Knight Rises” is the fact that when Bane attacked the “Stock Exchange” you’re tempted to cheer. Really how can someone who attacks stock exchange; traders and banksters be the villain? 😀


    • I liked Dark Knight Rises more than most people. But I will agree it had its flaws. The frustrating part is that a lot of them could have been fixed with a few dialogue changes.

      I think part of the reason I liked it more than most people is that it drew a lot of inspiration from Batman comics in the 90s. I read just about all of them. Bane was a favorite of mine. But the best take on Bane was when Gail Simone started writing him as a noble villain in Secret Six. Fantastic book. Everyone should track down and read Simone’s Secret Six. It’s better than just about any super hero movie.

      I think Dark Knight Rises needed Bane. Without him, there’s no conflict. But Talia might have been a step too far. And neutering Bane in the third act was a bad idea. On the whole, the movie just needed to be tighter.


  4. Wow you opened a can of worms here, a topic I’ve long wanted to see discussed, the women. The double standard that is unspoken and understood, simply because George Clooney may star against an actress but you can bet his costarr won’t be his age, nope she’ll be what we used to call starlets. Firstly, Charlize Theron in the borderline list, and putting her way after Angelina Jolie? Theron is an academy award winner that hasn’t ridden on roles based on her looks. She gets major kudos for that. She is in my mind on a par with Meryl Streep. And putting her even on a list with Stewart? Stewart can’t act. I want to see her play a role where she doesn’t have to be kissed to wake up first. Snow White was ruined because of Stewart. The most important line in the film, where she stabs the Queen, the words spilled out so fast I had to play it again to understand what she says. And Helen Mirran, I love but if she plays one more cougar type role, seriously. Between Ann Rynd and the remake of the Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, well I think she should pass on the next offer to disrobe. Kate Winslet may need more commercial roles but every role she plays she nails it. I love that film, forget the name, where she seduces a stay at home husband. She was so great in that. I think Jennifer Connolloy should be on your list. For Borderline, I definitely would have added Rachel Weisz and while you’re covering the French, where is Audrey Tatou? I guess Susan Sarandon and Sissy Spacek were left off because of age. As for ones to watch definitely Evan Rachel Wood has paid her dues and put in some great performances. Where too are Samantha Morton who I believe is just amazing to watch and what about Michelle Williams?For blacks and women, there is a whole other set of rules, and its not always pretty. It’s OK Lebeau you can’t please all the people all the time…-..


    • Hey Denise,

      I gotta give Johnny 88 credit for the article. This is a topic that comes up a lot. But he decided to take it on head-on. I’m glad he started the discussion because I think it’s one worth having.

      There is undeniably a double standard. In writing the WTHH articles, I have made several observations. I generally alternate between male and female subjects. The articles about actors almost always take longer to write. Why? They have longer careers. Actors continue to have vital careers well into their senior years. But very few actresses continue to be relevant once their youth starts to fade.

      Is it Hollywood’s fault? They certainly hold some blame. But really, they are just responding to audience demand. If audiences respond to older actresses, they will keep getting roles. Look at Streep. Right now, she’s an exception. But she should be the rule. There should be just as many Streeps are there are Clooneys and Russells and Douglases and Fords and all those other old guys still kicking around.


    • Dear Denise, you write

      “…And putting her even on a list with Stewart? Stewart can’t act”

      Well, I think Kirsten Stewart is a one-hit wonder who will disappear at the speed of light now that she can’t rely on Twilight coattails. I wrote it in the article. I didn’t put her even in the “Borderline” list. I think you should read the article again, I only mention Kirsten Stewart at the beginning, because, according to Forbes, she’s the third highest paid actress in Hollywood and I wrote “Kristen Stewart sits at number 3, but really I can’t see any future for her now that “Twilight” is over”. So I didn’t even put her in the “Borderline” list ’cause really in two years she will quickly be forgotten like her Twilight co-star Pattinson.

      As for Theron what make me think put her in the “Borderline” group is her disappearance from the mainstream for nearly ten years after “Monster” and “The Italian Job”. She spent her time doing good indie movies like “North Country” and “In the Valley of Elah”, and to me she was great in both movies but, unfortunately, many people have never heard of those movies. But when I put someone in the borderline list it is because I was divided on judgement, and Theron was probabily the one that divided me more.

      Plus, you do a Jolie vs. Theron matchup. I say honestly, if I have to choose whose the better actress between a Jolie and Theron, no doubt I’ll pick Theron, but to many, especially here overseas, Charlize Theron is someone they never heard of, I’m not joking unfortunately. However I hope her resurrection in the mainstream is enduring.

      You name many actresses who I “forgot”, but, what can I say, at one point I needed to close the list, but certainly I thought to put some of them in the list 😉 But as LeBeau points out, it’s a higly subjective issue, so if you want to post your personal list in comments I’ll only be glad to read it

      About “double standards” you’re right, however I don’t think that black actors are mistreated, lots of them are big draws (just think about Will Smith; Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman, just to name three of them) but maybe you were referring to black actresses, in these case you’re right. Black actresses still have a tough time, just think about Halle Berry’s carreer has sadly gone 😦


      • To Johnny 88, yes was definitely talking about black actresses. But is only recently that black males have reached this level. Yes, I too saw the Forbes list with Stewart on it. But the bottom line is actresses face a double standard for age. Is it Hollywood’s fault? I think so but also Vogue and Madison ave. are to blame. Would Jolie be on the list were she not married to Pitt? She is beautiful but so is Theron. I am surprised Theron is not more famous but you would know more than I. And you do seem to agree with me that she has picked some diverse roles, not solely based on looks. She is in a lot of fashion mags, as the face of Dior so seems like more people would know her. I think both Samantha Morton and Michele Wiliams will ultimately go on to have big careers. But what do I know, and I guess I am guilty of being an ageist or I wouldn’t Be so bothered by Helen Mirren’s choices, thanks for a thought provoking article on a topic actresses have been complaining about forever. Thanks for not listing Mila Kunis and Blake Lively. Yes both lovely but longevity? We’ll see.


  5. Part of the difficulty of having this conversation is that it is hard for people to separate their own judgements about who is really GOOD from who is in fact marketable. My impression of this article is that it is about the latter. I have long found the popularity of many performers curious, but in the end, my dollars can only vote a little, while millions of others go towards inexplicable entertainments.

    And as Lebeau was saying, the influence of so-called “A-listers” is steadily on the wane. Compare the lists of top male and female stars of the 80s and 90s to the top names of today and I bet the difference would be staggering. Each and every one of the ladies in the above lists comes with a “yeah, but…” Some are past their prime, with recent declines at the box office. Some have been leaning on popular properties which have helped their careers in the short term. Some have such low critical acclaim that their appeal is not very broad. And that goes the other way. Some audiences are suspicious of anybody who tries to do anything other than just entertain.

    There is probably an individual year which could be pointed to as the Zenith of the A-List actors and actresses. We have passed it.


    • Charlize Theron seems amazingly talented to me. And I put Sarandon on par with Streep


      • Halle berry still opens movies. Typing remotely forgive my writing style!


        • Halle Berry has never opened movies. There are some who claim she’s never been A-list. It’s hard to argue when you look at her numbers.

          The Call did better than expected this year. It grossed $50 million. This was seen as a major victory for Berry and frankly it’s the only reason she didn’t get a WTHH article this year – yet.

          Discounting voice work, the only movies she has appeared in which grossed over $100 million are:

          The Flintsones (1994) – very small role in a franchise film
          X-Men – supporting role in a franchise film
          Die Another Day – co-starring role in the biggest franchise of all time
          X-Men 2 – supporting role in a franchise film
          X-Men 3 – supporting role in a franchise film

          You can argue Berry is or was A-list. But using a strict definition heavily weighted to box office performance, I don’t think she is. And she has never opened a movie without a lot of help from co-stars and/or the franchise.


        • Cloud Atlas! It took me a while to think of it, and have not seen it, but wasn’t Halle Berry one of the leads? So you could say she was a big box office opener?


        • Cloud Atlas bombed.

          “Opening a picture” doesn’t mean being cast as the lead. It means that you had a big opening weekend as the lead. It also means the actor can be credited with the opening weekend success.

          For example, Chris Hemsworth was the lead in Thor. It had a big opening weekend. But Hemsworth was an unkown. His star power wasn’t why Thor was a success. So he didn’t really “open” Thor.

          There are a lot of well-known actors or actresses (actresses in particular) who have never really “opened a movie”. Michelle Pfeiffer had a long career, but the only movie she ever really opened was Dangerous Minds.

          Berry has been a successful actress. But you couldn’t really point to a movie where she was responsible for a big opening weekend at the box office. That’s a big part of being A-list and Berry doesn’t have it.


      • I like Sarandon a lot. As an actress, I could see putting her on the same level as Streep. As a movie star, not a chance. She hasn’t appeared in a hit since 2007 and that was Enchanted which starred Amy Adams. That is the ONLY movie she has ever made that grossed over $100 million unless you count Rocky Horror which flopped initially.

        Charlize Theron was in Hancock in 2008 which grossed over $200 million. In 2012 she appeared in Prometheus and Snow White and the Huntsman which both grossed over $100 million. Everything she has done in between was not the kind of movie where box office matters. She’s not headlining these films. But she is hitting home runs in supporting roles. That’s about as good of a claim as any actress has to the A-list these days.


    • Very well said.

      My strict definition of an A-list actor is someone who can do the following:

      1. Open a picture. When they star in a movie that fits their screen personae, the opening weekend should be big. The movie can flop after that. That’s not their fault. But the opening weekend should reflect an A-list status.

      2. Get a project made. When an A-list actor signs on to a project, it gets greenlit. The bigger the star, the more weight they can throw around on projects studios don’t want to make.

      I don’t think there is a single actress today who can reliably fit these criteria right now. There are only a couple of actors.


    • Well, today it’s extremely hard for an actor to be a box-office draw on his own. But I don’t rule it out completely. In global markets the name of leading performers stil matters a lot, and global market is increasingly important. Many actors still have a carreer thanks to overseas markets, despite being box-office poison in North America (Nicolas Cage; Nicole Kidman, though Kidman’s appeal is waning also in Europe).

      You’re right, I tried to put my personal tastes apart, (maybe I exagerated with Blanchett and Cotillard) and list names who are still bankable. Among those I listed the three that really makes me wonder how come they’re so successful are Angelina Jolie, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Aniston. Really, how they can be able to made it? Jolie is not able to play nothing that’s not a villain role, Aniston starred in some of the most embarassing rom-coms of the last decade, and Cameron Diaz, well her best movie is “There’s something about Mary” and that says pretty everything of her carreer.


      • International fans tend be more loyal than US fans. We’re a fickle bunch over here. But the rest of the world keeps Nicolas Cage working.

        Okay, so now I need to defend Jolie, Anniston and Diaz even though I’m not sure I want to.

        Jolie’s appeal is that she is a ridiculously beautiful woman who can act. But more importantly, she is a believable action heroine. Very few actresses have a rack record like Jolie in action movies. That seems to be winding down of late. But for a while, it was what put her at the top of the A-list.

        Anniston dominates precisely because she stars in those idiotic rom coms. They may be bad. But audiences who feel like they know and love her still show up. Casting Anniston opposite any comedic actor practically guarantees as decent opening. Or at least a better opening than you’d have gotten with anyone else.

        Diaz was a pretty daring actress once upon a time. I wouldn’t say Something About Mary defines her career. She made a brave turn in Being John Malcovich. She’s not afraid to be look bad be that wearing a hideous wig or playing an unsympathetic character. She’s starred in a pretty wide variety of movies. There was a time when she was one of my favorite actresses. Although her career seems to be slowing down lately.


        • Well, I correct myself

          Angelina Jolie is extremely beautiful and is the only credible female action heroine, however outside action movies she’s not that good. Outside action movies I only liked her in “Girl, Interrupted”

          Jennifer Aniston is so cute that if you looke “cute” in a dictionary you’ll find her photo. However many of her rom-coms have been embarassing. I single out for praise “Friends With Money” and “Marley & Me”. I liked her a lot in “Friends”, but many of her movies really makes me wonder how they’ve been so successful. But maybe it’s not her fault, it’s the rom-com genre that currently is extremely low quality.

          Cameron Diaz made some good movies, and I was surprised by her in “In Her Shoes” and “Gangs of New York”and she wasbut almost some very embarassing ones. Just think about “Charlie’s Angels”, “Bad Teacher” and “The Sweetest Thing”. Really describe those things as embarassing is an euphemism. No, really, she must really surprise myself for redeem herself after seeing this one


        • I have to admit I did not hate Charlies Angels or Bad Teacher. I haven’t seen The Sweetest Thing, but if it is embarassing, I don’t mind. One of the things I like about Diaz is she’s not afraid to take risks. Sometimes it pays off like Something About Mary. Sometimes she falls on her face like The Sweetest Thing. I appreciate that she tries.

          She’s got a long filmography with some surprisingly strong movies in varied genres. I don’t feel like it’s fair to judge her based on her weakest films.

          I feel like I am arguing the counter point for everything in the comments section for this article.


      • I really wasn’t taking you to task for including your personal tastes in the article. You present them as such and that’s fair.
        Maybe my own preferences lead me to defend Aniston too much. My impression has always been that, especially early in her film career, she was getting the Rom Com leftovers and had to make do. It had to be frustrating to wait in line behind Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock and then compete with Reese Witherspoon for the crumbs. Now she’s middle-aged and will soon be past her prime for Rom Coms, and that’s a good thing. Somehow she has managed to stay strongly in the business while finding a couple of unique projects along the way. She appears to have had several minor hits in pairings with a variety of leading men. The fact that she continues to be cast in these roles suggests to me that she is A) not a negative at the box office and B) someone other people like to work with. Good for her.


        • I look back to her Picture Perfect days when she was just one of the six Friends trying to break into movies. And really, she’s the only one who pulled it off. Anniston made the A-list with Bruce Almighty. Carrey’s career was floundering a little and he returned to his old style of comedy. Pairing him with Anniston gave him his biggest hit to date. And that’s what she’s been doing ever since. She can’t exactly open a picture herself. But pairing her with any actor seems to increase the opening weekend take. And that’s the next best thing. She’s the ultimate “girlfriend” actress. Plus, as you noted, she’s done some interesting work on the side. As she leaves rom coms behind, I imagine she’ll do more of that.


  6. Great article, great discussion. Can I just say that it is SO good to have a real keyboard again instead of trying to type on an Ipod touch in the damn wilderness with spotty internet!!

    Couple more random thoughts; Marion Cotillard, amazing in the delicious “Midnight in Gorgeous and classy at the same time, granted the movie itself was totally mesmerizing but you can totally see the A list quality she brought to the project.

    Jennifer Aniston, one of my favorite go-to actresses as she does not seem to ever pick boring movies and yes, there does seem to be a faction that hates on her but I don’t get it. like it or not the romcom market is always there and a lot of us enjoy them. She’s a little deeper than romcom queen though, while some critics don’t seem impressed by her talent, I think her timing is so good she just makes it look easy. She also has this way of supporting costars onscreen that is difficult to define but you can see it in “Friends” and you can see it in her movies. Ensemble performances where she is a player are stellar, and as a leading lady in the romcom world I’d say she still has some years left before a change in direction would be needed. Check out “Management” for a glimpse of what she can do in the arthouse, indy universe.


  7. oops, and above, that should be “Midnight in Paris.”

    Angelina Jolie, never one of my favorite actresses but I applaud her intellect and her work for humanitarian causes. At the box office it’s what you guys were saying, beautiful and can carry an action film. But I see her roles as an extension of herself rather than acting in any sense of the word. just my opinion.


    • Women in particular seem divided by the great Anniston/Jolie debate. It’s like they all took sides over Brad Pitt’s love life. As a man, I’m greatly confused by this phenomenon. What can I say, I like them both?

      If I am casting a role that requires exotic beauty or a kick ass action heroine, I call Jolie first. If I have an action movie written for a man but the male action stars have dropped out (like Salt), I’ll do a rewrite and call Jolie. If I want a little Oscar cache mixed with earthy sexiness, I call Jolie.

      Aniston, on the other hand, is vanilla. And I don’t mean that as an insult. Vanilla is delicious and underrated. It compliments just about anything you pair it with. If I’m casting a rom com with a lead who isn’t in his 20s, I call Aniston.

      As it stands right now, Aniston is more marketable than Jolie. She’s riding high on hits like Horrible Bosses and Meet the Millers (which seems poised to become her 6th 100 million dollar hit). But Jolie could come back with an big action movie or an award-winning drama and gain back some momentum. Maybe Maleficent will be a bigger hit than I expect.


      • Lebeau, please! Women don’t care who Brad Pitt is sleeping with. Well, let me rephrase that. I don’t care. My opinion of Jolie was formed after her ridiculously overrated performance in Girl, Interrupted. This opinion was cemented after her role in Pushing Tin with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton. She played the skanky wife of the latter. Again, seriously, how much acting is that? Speaking of Pitt, he *IS* the male Jolie. Attractive in an earthy way, burst onto the Hollywood scene by virtue of this earthy/sexy quality…. and not much else. Get the right action flick (Mr and Mrs Smith), become a real life couple and voila, instant Hollywood royalty. As far as the Aniston/Jolie debate, my guess is that both actresses have long since moved on but don’t mind getting whatever publicity this generates.


        • I am prone to over-generalization. Didn’t mean to imply that the feud was the basis for your opinion. Just that a lot of women I have talked to seem to care about it an awful lot. And it seems to be a divisive issue among many. But most guys I know like both actresses just fine.

          I do think you may be selling Jolie and especially Pitt short. Pitt’s done some great work and is definitely more than a pretty face. Check out 12 Monkeys some time. He gives an incredible performance. That was when I decided he was the real thing.

          I think Jolie can act as well. But she has shown less range. I thought she was great in both of the movies you referenced. But I can’t argue against the idea that she plays a lot of variations of her screen personae.

          Then again, the same could be said of most any A-list star. I’d certainly say Aniston is guilty of basically being Rachel more often than not.


  8. By the bye…a name curiously missing from all these discussions is Faye Dunaway. She may not represent box office cash right now, after all she is 70 but she has a movie coming out this year and has worked steadily for decades. Dunaway has the same name recognition factor, acting chops and body of work, as Streep, Sarandon, Hawn and Keaton do.


  9. I respect Dunaway’s overall filmography and her consistent work, but the last time she had a decent-sized role in a major release was in The Thomas Crown Affair in 1999. Compare that to Streep, Sarandon, and Keaton and she doesn’t measure up. Of course it’s not really fair to compare any actress to them.


    • Following a chance encounter with Faye Dunaway a couple years ago, I read a couple interviews with her online and was quite impressed with her remarks. She’s clearly intelligent and insightful in addition to being a great actress. In the interview Dunaway stated how her major successful movies would be independent films today! That comment has been echoed here by Lebeau and a couple others and is interesting to think about. And by the way she is totally charming in person, to someone she had no reason to be nice to. I’ll just leave it at that.


  10. For your consideration, Lebloggers, how about the following:
    Shirley MacLaine A++++++ and permanent. Would have been so even if she stopped working after Terms of Endearment. Continues to work even though she doesn’t have to, and is almost 80! Paved the way for Streep and company.


    • I think I have established my position on the concept of a permanent A-list. MacLaine has permanent Hollywood legend status. But she’ll never be A-list again, IMHO.


      • Sure, although, counterpoint, i would bet MacLaine isn’t unhappy with her career. She never had the traditional sexy romantic lead role features, so she wasn’t going to get those roles anyway. “Success” can be somewhat of a personal definition.. yes, she played many older women type roles, sometimes quirky characters, which by doing that, opened up the sheer scope of roles available to pretty much all of the older actresses we have mentioned so far. Including Streep, who also has excelled in these roles. Unlike Goldie, Kim and Fonda, Maclaine didn’t have to market herself as a sex symbol, in order to have an illustrious career. I see her as a true trailblazer in that sense. Maclaine started getting awards and noms in the 1950s, Streep burst onto the scene with Kramer in the late 70s and has picked one good project after another. While the sheer magnitude of Streep’s talent can’t be overstated, my contention is that Maclaine helped pave the way. I really have to get copies of Postcards from the Edge and Turning Point, and watch them again.


        • Maclaine was the romantic lead in “Being There” which came out just the year before “A Change of Seasons” so I’m surprised you left that one out. I cannot think of another actress living or dead who could have played the role of Eve Rand to such elegant perfection. And that includes Meryl. “Being There” did not get the awards attention that it should have, maybe because of “Kramer vs. Kramer” which cleaned up at Oscars night that year. Even at the time I thought Kramer was overrated and Being There was underrated. Kramer was hailed at being groundbreaking and for what really… showing us that a divorce can have two sides? Whatever, it was a good film with an intelligent script but not one fraction of the cinematic accomplishment that was Being There. Dustin Hoffman acknowledged as much in his acceptance speech when he said BA should have gone to Peter Sellers. Again, is ‘flattering” all that matters, and are there not different ideas on what that even means. The role of Eve was complex, interesting and subtle, calling for delicate balancing in every scene she was in.

          I tried to watch “It’s Complicated” but fell asleep early on, of course this might be no reflection on the movie.


        • Agreed totally on her movie roles for all those years, they were indeed, all older women, and sometimes she played older than her age, also agreed that, many actresses play someone younger than who they are. Where I have a lot of respect for Maclaine is that i give her credit for being someone who not only took on those roles and hit them out of the park but also by doing so, opened up the range of roles for others. No one can be a 20 year old ingenue forever.. and I’m too old myself to identify with Little Darlings, so I’d rather go see It’s Complicated.


      • Most every actress over 40 wishes they had Streep’s career. Certainly every actress over 50.


  11. I do agree how according to the Lebeau definition of A list, she doesn’t fit. You have consistently made the case for your definition with clear criteria. I know she can’t open a movie at her age, heck I don’t even think a man her age could. While the subject of actress aging in Hollywood has made for many an interesting discussion here, I do think MacLaine has outlasted many men for both quality and length of time on the A list – over 50 years of award wins and nominations for a tremendous range of roles. So you’re right, not a permanent A list, but hey, permanent legend is not a bad legacy.


  12. Roberts and Jolie have clout. But in Hollywood, it’s what have you done for me lately.

    Theron had hits with Prometheus and Snow White. Granted, she wasn’t the lead in either film. But appearing in hits makes Hollywood sit up and take notice. Roberts and Jolie haven’t done much of that lately. Being Hollywood royalty will get your face on the magazine covers, but it doesn’t always translate to big box office.


    • “Jolie’s appeal is that she is a ridiculously beautiful woman who can act.”

      Now that’s she’s had a double mastectomy for no defensible reason?! If it’s even true she did or perhaps some twisted ploy to boost her notorious weirder-by-the-minute persona. (Holly-wood is a monument to BS as is Big Pharma)

      Plus, she has very prominent features and those rarely age well.

      Plus, how can anyone sincerely call these people “actors”?! Have you ever been on a set?

      Have you ever seen these so-called actors call acting? They do snippets. Snippet here. Snippet there. Snippets of gestures, of lines, of facial contortions. And they get lots of mulligans when they can’t even get those tiny bits right.

      They are perfumed and pomaded as show-dogs, whereas underneath they are all just plain mutts.

      They are, from head to toe, as talentless as they are artificial. There is a reason it’s referred to as “Holly-wood magic.”

      Be well, all!


      • Having never been on a set.. well, actually I have, but not when anything was taking place on the set… anyway, I can’t comment on your insider knowledge, AND I’m no big fan of AJ, but I have to say, there has to be talent on these sets, in some degree. Maybe sometimes it’s lacking. But it has to require some talent. It has to


        • Talent resides today with CGI alchemists et al. Many A-list “actors” are CGI ‘d in and need not deign make a royal appearance on set at all.

          The ability to insert replicants is a veritable godsend since the egos of the live numbnuts, like their paychecks, are risibly disproportionate to any true useful service they provide to the world.

          In these times of planned & orchestrated severe unemployment, de-industrialization and economic collapse, police state brutality etc. all aimed at the destruction of Western civilization one is gobsmacked by the persistent, insane idolatry of these rich, spoiled, capricious and useless chimeras. They are mocking you.

          Holly-wood is a state owned propaganda machine. Every damn film. Deal with it.

          And one more thing: Why would any normal person pay to subject themselves to yet another “Robocop” film? Merely step outside for a walk and you’ll cross paths with veritable robocops aplenty. Isn’t the trans-humanist agenda clear enough yet? Isn’t it way too prevalent already?

          Think about it.

          Be well, all!


        • Stef, your rants are quite entertaining. I’ll give you that. But you’re spraying random fire, I can’t tell what your target is. One minute you are taking on all of Western civilization, then you’re singling out Robocop? I look forward to your response. I’m sure it will be filled with wit. But maybe pick a topic.


        • I actually do “get” at least some of what you are saying. It is just a very difficult fabric to weave together, and it ignores the pockets of humanity that are out there in civilization, just like it ignores pockets of talent among the CGI. But it is definitely something to think about. Agreement is not a requirement for the advancement of civilization… thinking, and questioning, is.


        • “Agreement is not a requirement for the advancement of civilization… thinking, and questioning, is.”

          Good for you, RB.

          Be well, all!

          Be well, all!


      • Jolie’s double mastectomy doesn’t concern me. It’s her personal choice. I don’t see any need for her to mount a defense.

        You seem to be suggesting that film actors don’t act. That’s silly. Yes, film acting is different from stage acting. Obviously, there are multiple takes, editing, special effects, etc. And yeah, movies are artifice. But you are painting with an exceptionally broad brush. Your statements seem to suggest that no film actor has ever had any talent whatsoever.

        You’re making a lot of noise but I’m not sure what you are railing against. Actors are fake? They are actors. That’s the gig.


  13. I’m watching “Holiday” with Cam Diaz, Kate Winslet, Jude Law and Jack Black. (That last one really threw me… WTF? ) I must say it’s pretty good so far. yes, I like a lot of dreck but try to maintain some minimal standards. 🙂 Anyway I fell asleep halfway through the film last night, but that not necessarily an indicator of quality, so going to watch the rest after re-reading the WTHH on Jude Law. Diaz and Winslet are, without question, fun to watch, and both on top of their game.


  14. update; have watched “The Holiday” twice now. Formula, yes, but so excellent.


  15. For what it’s worth according to Vulture the 10 most valuable actresses are

    1. Lawrence (3)
    2. Bullock (4)
    3. Jolie (12)
    4. Streep (13)
    5. Aniston (16)
    6. Kunis (20)
    7. Hathaway (24)
    8. McCarthy (27)
    9. Blanchett (30)
    10. Stone (32)

    (Number in parentheses is overall rank)

    The only other actresses in the top 50 are Portman (35), Stewart (36), Fey (44), Witherspoon (45), Saldana (48) and Roberts (50).


    • I’ll add that I don’t really like their methodology (specifically I don’t understand why they include the likability, critic scores, Oscars, Twitter mentions and tabloid value as individual categories since those things should already be reflected in box and studio value rankings) but they seem to pass the eyeball test.


      • Just for fun, I was playing around with the values adjuster and set everything but the box office and studio scores values to zero (BO and studio scores I left alone).

        The new order was this

        1. Bullock (5)
        2. Jolie (8)
        3. Blanchett (11)
        4. Lawrence (16)
        5. Streep (18)
        6. McCartney (19)
        7. Aniston (20)
        8. Stewart (29)
        9. Stone (34)
        10. Hathaway (36)

        Other actresses in the revised Top 50 are Kunis (44), Fey (47), and Portman (49).

        I personally think that Lawrence is probably a bigger draw than Cate Blanchett, but I have the benefit of considering Hunger Games 2 and American Hustle, which this list does not.

        (Also, the most surprising result I saw when I did this was Johnny Depp dropping all the way to 21. He really needs Transcendence to be a hit because this version of the list reflects how unreliable he is when he’s not playing Jack Sparrow)


    • For a half second, I thought Stone was Sharon Stone and I nearly spit out my coffee. Then I realized my mistake and went…. ohhhhh that makes more sense.


    • And this year’s update

      1. Lawrence (1)
      2. Bullock (4)
      3. Jolie (6)
      4. Adams (20)
      5. Woodley (24)
      6. Streep (26)
      7. Stone (27)
      8. Hathaway (28)
      9. McCarthy (30)
      10. Johansson (31)

      Other actresses in the top 50; Aniston (33), Roberts (36), Kunis (37), Portman (41), Witherspoon (48), Saldana (49), and Theron (50).


  16. Watched 3 movies this weekend; and one of them was NOT Mr. Banks, but I’m getting to that gem. No, I watched one oldie (The Big Kahuna) and 2 recent hits from Redbox: We’re the Millers and The Heat. Have to say, enjoyed both new films, and in regards to the latter, I can finally see why Bullock and McCarthy are A list. Paired in a hit cop movie, they both picked a winner in The Heat. Cop movies are not really my thing but this one was so good it reminded me of the last cop movie I really enjoyed, Beverly Hills Cop (and its sequels). Too much gun violence and all that but never boring and lots of laughs. I am actually hoping there is a Heat II and III in the works.

    We’re the Millers delivers what you now expect from one of Aniston’s movies: good script, good comedy, and Aniston as part of a comedy ensemble. She has had the comic timing thing down for quite some time – and she is the perfect foil for the others in the cast.


  17. A To D List – The Hierarchy:

    This is part one of a continuing series this weekend that will set to define A-D list and the people in the public eye and how they should be defined. Before getting to specific individuals this is a general overview on lists.

    Trying to define A to D list is hard, but not impossible. The big problem is that careers are always in flux and things that hold true when a blind is written or a description of an actor might not be the case when it is read years later. Back in 2008 I wrote Kirsten Dunst was an A lister. Is she now? Nope. I think since the site started there have been changes in television with the advent of sites like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon producing original content. Should those be given less weight because they are not on network television?

    There has also been an increase in reality shows to the point where I consider them a genre unto their own. If I call someone an A list reality star it does not mean they are an A lister in the true sense of the word. There is a hierarchy and what I wrote back in 2008 about the true A listers is still what I believe today.

    “In my mind, A list is someone who can open a mainstream film all by themselves. When I say mainstream, I mean a film that opens in the 1000+ screen category. I think that is the one true measurement of whether someone is A list or not. The question should be, am I interested in going to see this movie because so and so is in it and I don’t care what the movie is about.”


    There is already a flaw within this list though. You can be Jay-Z, who is an A+ list celebrity and should not be at the bottom of the list. You could refer to him as a musician and because that is a talent should be moved higher in the list and leave celebrities to someone like Paris Hilton or Courtney Stodden.

    Where would you place Jay-Z though? Movies are highest on the list because they generally get paid the most. Brad Pitt makes more per movie than Ashton Kutcher gets for an entire season on Two And A Half Men. It’s close, but Brad wins. Plus, the Academy Awards are watched by people all over the world and Emmy Awards, not so much. A popular television show in the US might not be popular in the rest of the world but a movie generally has more appeal worldwide.

    Taylor Swift made more money than all but a handful of entertainment people last year. She is known worldwide and has a skill other than just being famous. You might not like her or her music, but that is not the point when defining the list. There are lots of people I dislike, but you have to recognize where they rank in things.

    What I want to do is to create a new category called Entertainer. This would cover people in the musical fields some stand up comedians and even DJ’s like Tiesto and athletes. They are all entertainers. In the hierarchy I would still place them beneath movies but above network television. The actors on television shows who make as much as the highest paid entertainers are few and far between.

    That would mean that the designation of celebrity would be reserved for those who are not a participant in any of the other categories. Kevin Federline is a great example. With the exception of a couple of visits to reality shows he is someone who is famous because he is famous. He married Britney Spears and has been famous since. Other than producing babies at a prolific rate he has no other skill so makes the perfect “celebrity.” So, you ask, how would you classify Paris Hilton? She has been an entertainer. She has been in movies. She has been on reality shows.

    I would describe her as a former A list reality star who appeared on multiple reality shows and is currently a B list celebrity we all love to hate. I would skip the singing part because I like to forget about it and the more narrow you make a description, the easier the blind is to figure out. There has to be some guessing.

    So, the new hierarchy looks like this:


    Now that the hierarchy has been established I want to take a brief look at each of the categories and break them down further.

    General Release
    Limited Release/Art House
    Straight to On Demand



    Free Cable (A&E/TLC/AMC/HIST)


    Network Reality
    Cable Reality
    Online Reality



    • Showing posts with label A-D list:

      Sharon Stone – Former A+ list mostly movie actress who is trying her hand at television now.

      Sylvester Stallone- Former A+ list mostly movie actor who will always be an A lister and is also an Academy Award winner/nominee. Just when you think his best days are behind him he finds another franchise.

      Reese Witherspoon – A+ list mostly movie actress who is difficult work for and with unless you treat her like she is a Queen.

      Renee Zellweger- Former A+ list mostly movie actress who has never quite been the same since she got married for the minute and a half.

      Mira Sorvino- B list mostly movie actress who is a very good actress who makes really bad choices when it comes to movies and certain personal decisions.

      Molly Ringwald – Former A list mostly movie actress who will forever be an A+ lister to those of a certain age and time who wanted her to be their best friend.

      Nicolas Cage – A list mostly movie actor who has better luck with movies than with his hair.

      Nicole Kidman – Hanging on by a thread to A list mostly movie actress who has A+ list name recognition and interesting choices when it comes to significant others.

      Mel Gibson – Former A+ list mostly movie actor who has a problem with certain groups of people and isn’t shy about sharing that while drunk.

      Michael Keaton – Former A list mostly movie actor who is tied for or maybe just a close second place in the best performance of this character.

      Kathleen Turner – Former A list mostly movie actress/sex symbol from back in the day who has a lot of stories to tell when you get her drunk.

      Kevin Costner – Former A+ list mostly movie actor who now works where he can get it despite that Academy Award.

      Kevin Kline & Phoebe Cates – Lucky & should give me a call.

      Lindsay Lohan- Former B+ list mostly movie actress who is hanging on to B list simply because of A+ list name recognition. It has nothing to do with talent.

      Jim Carrey – Former A+ list mostly movie actor who got his start on a long running hit network show and can’t seem to get his A+ list status back.

      John Travolta- Former A+ list mostly movie actor who will be an A lister without doing anything else for another decade.

      Hilary Swank- B list mostly movie actress who hasn’t worked as much since Jessica Chastain showed up. Wins 2nd place behind Anne Hathaway in actress people don’t like much.

      Heather Graham- B- list mostly movie actress who was in danger of dropping to C before a comic franchise saved her from having to get naked in an indie again.

      Colin Farrell- Foreign born former A list mostly movie actor who seemed destined for a long run at A+ status until some bad movie choices

      Darryl Hannah- Former A list mostly movie actress who lost focus along the way and only works to pay the bills now.

      Brendan Fraser – Former A+ list mostly movie actor who is clinging by his nails to B list status at this point despite his relatively young age and that franchise that should have kept paying him forever.

      Alicia Silverstone – B list mostly television actress/author who can’t ever get a series to last longer than a year.


  18. what about amy adams she is alist she been pumping good movies year after from man of steel to american hustle


      1. Man of Steel was crap*
      2. Making good movies has nothing to do with being A-list

      *Yes, this is technically a matter of opinion. But I loathe Man of Steel.


    • Future of Movie Stars: Who Will Shine? Who Will Fade Away?

      I have to disagree. I think Amy Adams is actually an exception to the over 30 crowd and is a no doubt A-lister right now. She annually appears in Oscar bait as well as more commercially popular films such as Night at the Museum and the new Superman movies. Also, she’s had staying power since Junebug really put her on the map. (Although to me, she will always be Leslie Miller from Drop Dead Gorgeous.). I think she’s a bigger star now than back in 2007 with Enchanted.

      Yest. 7:51 am

      Yeah, but how many of those roles are actually Amy Adams vehicles? The exception being Big Eyes, she’s almost always the supporting character to the leads, after she had her failed attempt at becoming American’s Sweetheart with the string of romcoms she did after Enchanted.

      It’s not to say she’s not a big star, but you don’t get people saying, “Oh, that’s an Amy Adams movie”, as opposed to “Oh, that’s a Jennifer Lawrence movie.” I think her fame is most comparable to Julianne Moore- high respected (finally got her damn Oscar!), plenty of work, but she was never Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts in terms of the fame and being able to command vehicle movies just for her.


  19. but amy adams is getting famous so i qualify her as alist she had a good resume for someone at a young age


  20. Lebeau, what do you think will happen to Jennifer Lawrence’s career in the long run? I know she’s in demand now but I think that’s cause she’s so freaking popular. I think the hunger games would still make good money even if they had someone else in the lead. Personally, I think she’s pretty overrated. You’re definitely right about Kristen Stewart. Without the coattails of Twilight to ride on, i’m hoping she’ll disappear soon.


    • Lawrence’s popularity is bound to decline. That’s not a judgement on her talent. It happens to everyone. The question is when. The Hunger Games has definitely taken her to the next level. But it’s not all she has going for her. She’s prominently featured in the X-Men movies. And she’s got a good collaboration going with David O Russell which should keep her in high brow movies and walking down red carpets for at least a few years. I think we’ll be hearing from her for a while to come.


      • Sure her popularity will die down because she’s honestly hit top and has nowhere to go. Jennifer has so much talent and likability that she’s going to be here a long time ! She just has to continue to do great movies indie and box office. I’m not worried about that girl at all !


      • How Far Can Jennifer Lawrence Go?

        Post by Crappler on 3 hours ago
        She has arguably been the top star of the 2010s. She hasn’t really had a misstep yet (okay, Serena was a misstep). She’s proven that she can have great success outside of those franchise movies. She’s already been nominated three times for Academy Awards, winning for Silver Linings Playbook. Her first Oscar-nominated performance was for Winter’s Bone, which came out before she became better known for playing Mystique and Katniss. Then she appeared in two David O. Russell movies (Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle).

        At this point, she controls her own destiny. She can pretty much dictate how often she works and what kind of movies she makes. She’s already slated to be working on another David O. Russell movie as well as a Steven Spielberg movie.


    • Overrated ? Yea not so much . Just saw Mockingjay part 1 and she’s amazing in that. The girl isn’t going anywhere !


  21. after American hustle amy adams is everywhere. i would say she is more a list then lawerence lawerence wasnt famous till 2 years ago with silver lininings playbook amy adam had a hit in 2005 with junebug and had hits since


  22. I’d just like to mention one female actress who may not be an A lister but can certainly hold her own in a leading role as well as being a very talented and accomplished actress who has been at it since 1970, whose name still has clout and that is none other than Kathy Bates.

    88 movies, 20 television shows, a number of hit plays on and off broadway.
    1 Academy Award (Best Actress), 2 Academy Award Nominations (Best Supporting Actress), 2 Golden Globes and 4 nominations, 1 Emmy and 9 nominations, 2 Screen Actors Guild Awards and 7 nominations. Beat both ovarian and breast cancer and shows no sign of stopping acting or directing anytime soon.

    I only mention her here because this post, while being about A list actresses, touched on a broader issue of the obstacles most actresses face that their male counter parts often do not. Here is a woman who didn’t really start making a name for herself till she was in her 30’s and, let’s face it, she was never considered a sex symbol or cast for her looks. She had also starred in plenty of movies that bombed, including a few notorious ones, and she has had cancer not once but twice and is still doing television and big box office movies. She has had a long and successful career despite 4 potential career killers: 1. Looks 2. Age 3. Movies that bomb and 4. Major Illness or health issues. At 58 her career doesn’t seem to have slowed at all and I think, given the right movie, she could easily still bring home an Academy Award for best actress, A list or not!!


    • Kathy Bates is awesome. If I had to categorize her, I’d say she is more of a character actor than a lead although she has had lead roles before. You can always count on Bates to be interesting even if the movie she is in isn’t.


      • That’s true, she does seem like more of a character actor than a lead and that might owe a lot to her work in television. I recall one critic remarking, nobody was better at just disappearing into the character. She’s a solid actress and a joy to watch, as you said, no matter whether the movie is interesting or not! Perfect example is the new Melissa McCarthy movie “Tammy”, Bates had a small part but was still entertaining despite the movie being less than what it could have been.


  23. cate blacnhett shes for sure a list and hot too 🙂


  24. It’s kind of interesting to look back at this piece a little over a year after it was written and see how things have changed, or not, for some of the listed actresses.

    Meryl Streep is one of a kind. I’d say she’s an A-lister, a unique one, for as long as she wants to continue working.

    Angelina Jolie (because of Maleficent) and Sandra Bullock (thanks to Gravity) both seem to have solidified their A-list positions for the near future. In Bullock’s case, she seems to like to take periodic sabbaticals from acting–she hasn’t had a single movie come out in 2014–but history tells us that she seems to always find a way back to the top.

    At a somewhat lower level of success, Scarlett Johansson is more credible as an A-lister than she was last year, thanks to the success of Lucy. At least, there is now probably a better chance that the Black Widow film that a few of us out here would really like to see will become a reality.

    Melissa McCarthy has had a quiet 2014. That isn’t surprising to me–I’d guess that by the time she had her big run of success last year, most of the movies which came out this year already had cast commitments. Tammy was a fairly successful film, but the big test for McCarthy is whether she can have good 2015.

    Jennifer Lawrence is probably an A-lister at this point. As LeBeau has suggested in comments, she will probably have a bit of “regression to the mean” in the next few years–she won’t get an Oscar nomination every year, or star in the #1 box office hit (although I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Mockingay Part 1 at the top of the list for 2014). She seems to be doing a good job of picking her roles, and mixing big-budget, box-office oriented films with prestige pictures.

    Anne Hathaway is an interesting case–she had a great 2012, seems to have slowed her pace down in 2013, and now faces the question of whether she can sustain her A-list status. I think she probably can, but as with Lawrence, that doesn’t mean she’s going to have a big hit or big role every single year.

    As for the other young actresses listed–Emma Stone, Emma Watson, Amanda Seyfried, plus I would suggest that Shailene Woodley now belongs in the same group–they aren’t really A-listers yet. I expect that one or more of them will break through–if I had to pick one, I’d bet on Emma Stone–but it might not happen for five years or so.


    • Yeah, that’s basically what my weekly A-list articles are for. Week to week, how has the A-list changed? Who’s moving closer? Who’s moving farther away? Who missed their shot? It’s constantly changing.


  25. natile portman rocks


    • 10 Actors Who Desperately Need A Hit:

      Natalie Portman

      Last hit: Let’s say Thor: The Dark World, because she’s a relatively important part of that Marvel series. But if you are looking for a project that doesn’t get to piggyback on the Marvel brand, you are going back to 2010’s Black Swan, which earned Portman an Oscar and – from the looks of it – some much needed time off.

      Recent misses: Portman followed Black Swan with the relative hit No Strings Attached in 2011, then whiffed with the likes of Your Highness, The Other Woman and Hesher. She returned to Thor for part two, but it’s unclear if she will stay in the MCU much longer.

      Next chance: Portman’s been relatively quiet on the career front, though she has parts in two indie films Knight of Cups and Jane Got a Gun, both due out later this year. Will either be hits? Eh, probably not.


  26. no one talks about amy adams


  27. My vote is obviously for Jennifer Lawrence ! Just saw Mockingjay part 1 and this girl is talented and continues to pick great projects. SORRY TO ALL THE HATERS SHE’S NOT GOING ANYWHERE FOR A LONG TIME !


  28. Julia roberts last movie money monster was box office hit almost gorssing 100 mill worldwide on a low budget. She is not a list anymore but no actress/actor cna be a list forever, She occasionally still appears in a hit once in a while she got oscar nom 3 years ago too.


  29. Who are A-list actors, B-list, etc…?


    And what denotes them as such? Their Oscar worthy performances, their box office returns? Both or none?


    Someone like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise are IMO A-listers. Those who command high salaries and are still cast in high profile movies.

    B-listers are most TV series stars, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Channing Tatum, most action stars, Gerard Butler, Vin Diesel etc.

    C-listers or below: TV series stars, most young adult stars, straight to video etc.

    Honestly, I think someone like Nicolas Cage has fallen to C-list level. Bruce Willis is IMO pretty close to here as well.


    I’d say an A-Lister has the ability to open a movie based on their name alone. People will say they went to see the new “insert name here” film instead of saying the actual title of the film.

    I’d say the actor/actress needs longevity. Be a top name for many years. Some actors will get really famous for a year or two and then fall out of the limelight. Tom Cruise has been a top name for decades. The guy that was in Avatar was in a few high profile movies and now I can’t even remember what his name was for this post.


    I think A-list actors are the ones who have gained their status through talent, hard work, and appeal (like Cruise) and are smart enough to know which movies to go with and which ones to avoid. The ones who don’t give their performance their full attention or are greedy or desperate enough to act in anything that comes along (like Cage) are the ones who can kiss their A-list status goodbye.


    “Let’s go see the new Clint Eastwood movie”

    An A list actor is the most important thing about a movie. More important than the plot or title. On the poster their name is as big, or bigger than the film title. Equal to the title is 100% billing. Larger than the title is around 110% billing. Traditional the actor’s name will be above the title.

    A list stars have been replaced with franchises for the most part. “STAR WARS” is the most important thing about a Star Wars film regardless of how big the stars appearing in it.

    In some cases you have combinations. Harrison Ford/Indiana Jones, Sean Connery/James Bond, Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry, where the sum is greater than the parts.

    Current A listers who stand on their own would be Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise.


    A-Listers are stars who I so big, that their name alone can open up a movie and have huge mainstream recognition. Think name above the title. A-listers are pretty much dead now a days with the birth of the franchise and social media being prevalent, but they still remain. Examples are Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Tom Hanks, Brad Pitt, The Rock, and Jennifer Lawrence.

    B-Listers are the actors that people know and recognize, but they oftentimes can’t carry a movie by themselves outside of a genre or a franchise, because their name alone won’t get people to the theatre. Also features actors that Hollywood push desperately to get them on the A-list. Examples: Channing Tatum, Vin Diesel, Chris Pratt, Jessica Chastin, Gerard Butler, Mark Wahlberg, Seth Rogen, Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham.

    C-Listers: The character actors, and people who could never headline an A or B movie, but could headline a straight to video movie or TV series. This is the biggest group. Also includes actors who have that big role that gets their name out. Also typically features former A and B list actors after roles dry up. Examples are Nicholas Cage, Bruce Willis, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Segal, Micahel Madsen, Keifer Sutherland or big name TV actors like Norman Reedus or Kit Harrington.

    D-list: YouTube celebrities, reality TV show “stars”.


    I’ve actually given this some thought in real life. My definitions:

    A-List: I divide this into box-office A-list and critical A-list. Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and so on would be on the box-office A-list. While they are no guarantee of box office success, they are known by pretty much everyone and have been around forever. Critical A-list would be the likes of Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore, Daniel Day-Lewis, Meryl Streep. They tend to veer towards more highbrow work that may not set the box office on fire, but they get plenty of attention during awards season. And of course, actors on both sub-lists will hybridize freely. The ultimate combo is a crowd-pleasing and critically acclaimed movie that stars an A-lister like Titanic or Forrest Gump.

    B-List: The majority of famous actors would go here. Most of the Marvel and DC actors like the various white guys named Chris, Jake Gyllenhaal, Emily Blunt, the lead actors on Game of Thrones, etc. They’re reasonably well known, can headline a mid or low budget film, or star in a franchise pic where the movie is bigger than them. They can easily be confused for another actor by the general public or be known by their filmography than their actual name though.

    C-List: This is a general catch-all. There’s a mix of stars who used to be A-list and have aged out (Nicolas Cage, Gwyneth Paltrow), most of the random 20-something interchangeable starlets and hunks, TV stars who have some niche appeal (Mark Harmon, Johnny Galecki), Broadway stage actors, and soap stars. A C-Lister can still make a ton of money and be recognized by the public on some level, but they are most definitely not at a Jennifer Lawrence level of fame.

    D-List: The dregs of celebrity, looked down on by those above them. Minimally talented “famous for being famous” people dwell in this basement. While wildly successful, I’d put the Kardashians here, along with most reality stars.

    Now of course one can move up or down the ranks depending on how well they navigate the treacherous waters of Hollywood.

    Edited to add: I’d add in a Legends category. Veteran actors who may or may not work as actively as in their prime, but everyone knows them for their classic work. Nicholson, De Niro, Pacino, Keaton, Field, Streep, etc.


    Back in like 2005-2006, I would say Kiefer Sutherland was probably B-list and maybe even close to A list.

    24 just came off an Emmy from season 5 and it was their highest rated season ever. Plus, Kiefer was IIRC the highest paid male actor in TV at the time.

    But, now in 2017, I think your assessment of him being C list seems pretty accurate. He’s on a pretty high profile ABC TV series, but he’s 50 now and can’t get lead roles in big Hollywood movies anymore. The last feature he did as a lead was Forsaken a couple of years ago, but it was a small Indie movie.


    I think with all these tent-pole movies, there is really a new sub-catagory : Franchise A-Listers.

    A Franchise A-Lister is someone who can demand an astronomical salary — for a certain role only. RDJ is an A-Lister when he plays Tony Stark, but maybe not in The Judge or Due Date. Daniel Craig can ask for the moon as 007, but not for Defiance. If Daniel Ratcliff were to play Harry Potter again, he’d get a fortune no doubt – but as a farting corpse, he’s closer to scale wages.

    Tom Cruise, Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lawrence can ask for more for resuming their franchises, but they’re A-Listers regardless of the movie – they can open a picture on name alone. The other guys I mentioned maybe can’t.

    Eddie Murphy after a string of flops isn’t necessarily and A-Lister any more, but as Axel Foley, he certainly still is.


    C-listers are usually actors that don’t get any billing on the movie’s poster and play supporting roles in mainstream Hollywood releases. It can also include recognizable television actors that may be regulars on a hit show but aren’t the main stars.

    Someone as big as Bruce Willis once was can’t really slip into the C or D list. A few bad movies doesn’t change the fact he’s starred in some of the biggest movies (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense, Armageddon) of all time. Paul Newman didn’t suddenly become a C-lister because he got older.


    One can argue that someone like Mark Harmon could be considered a B-lister.

    He’s not a movie star, but he’s on one of the highest rated shows on TV, also it’s Executive Producer and is also one of the highest paid actors in TV as well. He’s also the EP of one of it’s spinoffs.

    That’s a lot of clout for an actor in TV. I doubt he would fall under Robin2099’s definition of C-lister.


    You can still be a well known name and be on the C-list. Bruce Willis hasn’t had a hit movie since RED and Die Hard 6 where he was the star. Since then the only movie that has grossed over $100 in the US was GI Joe and he wasn’t the star of that. All of his movies since have gone straight to video. Yes he will always have a name, but unless it’s a Die Hard sequel people won’t be flocking to the theater to see him. Same with Arnold, Sly and Harrison Ford.

    If your on a really popular TV show that could definitely put you on the B-list. Mark Harmon would be one. Typically when a show is really popular there’s always one actor that is on the B-list and the others stay on the C-list. On Friends it was Jennifer Aniston, Harmon on NCIS, David Duchovny on X-Files etc.


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