Those hoping for similar loftiness for Indian actresses will be disappointed because there's not a single desi name on the list of Highest Paid Actresses - not Deepika Padukone, not Priyanka Chopra, not Aishwarya Rai Bachchan with her L'Oreal endorsements, and not Kangana Ranaut who now reportedly commands the fattest salary among Bollywood's female stars.
Once you've swallowed that, get this - the highest paid actress in the world, Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence, is paid much, much lower than the top earner among the men, Robert Downey Jr. Her $52 million list topper pales in comparison to the Iron Man actor's $80 million. She's just ahead of the actor who placed second on the list of men - Jackie Chan with $50 million.
This sad comment on the disparity in showbiz salaries just gets sadder. Mr Downey Jr's co-Avenger, Scarlett Johansson, came in second at $35.5 million. On the men's list, she would be ranked between #6 (Tom Cruise with $40 million) and #7 (a tie between Big B and Salman Khan with $33.5 million).
Actresses Melissa McCarthy ($23 million), Chinese star Bingbing Fan ($21 million) and Jennifer Aniston ($16.5 million) rounded up the Top 5 list. None of them would even be in the top 20 of the male actors.
Four women made more than $20 million from their acting and endorsements, before taxes and fees, while 21 male actors did, underlining a lingering pay gap in Tinseltown.
Forbes also pointed to the discrepancy in profit cuts between the male and female actors in the 2013 film American Hustle - which starred Jennifer Lawrence - as an example. The male leads were reported to have taken home a two percent higher cut than the female leads.
Actress Patricia Arquette, who called for wage equality in her speech after winning an Oscar for Boyhood, did not make it to the list. Her celebrity cheerleader Meryl Streep did, coming in at number 13 with $8 million. Patricia's impassioned plea for gender equality at the Academy Awards was cheered loudly by Meryl Streep. (Also Read: It's Time to have Wage Equality, Says Patricia Arquette)
Natalie Portman, who made it to #18 with $6 million, recently told Marie Claire, "There is an outrageous discrepancy between men and women in Hollywood. Titanic is a huge hit and Leonardo DiCaprio immediately goes to $20 million per movie and Kate Winslet doesn't. But that feels totally like it's changing." (Also Read: Natalie Portman Explains Hollywood Pay Disparity With Help From Titanic)
Not changing fast enough, it appears. The dismal gap in Hollywood salaries is mirrored in Bollywood but recent trends reveal a potential altering in plotline.
Kangana, who delivered Bollywood's first 100 crore film of 2015 in Tanu Weds Manu Returns, has reportedly hiked her fee to Rs 11 crores, putting her in pole position among female stars. In an interview to IANS, she reasoned, "I think the kind of roles or films I do it literally takes a year, so, I think it is justified." (Also Read: Kangana Ranaut Reportedly Highest Paid Actress With 11 Cr Pay Cheque)
Kangana's Fashion director Madhur Bhandarkar told news agency IANS that the leading actresses of today are making more than their predecessors. "Slowly and gradually a lot of actresses are taking position like Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif. They have reached a level where they are getting good pay and their due, and what they wanted. It is a good thing, " he said. (Also Read: Deepika, Priyanka, Katrina Changing Pay Disparity, Says Madhur Bhandarkar)