Angelina Jolie is the most powerful celebrity, according to Forbes

Angelina Jolie has topped another list – but this isn’t one of those “most beautiful” or “sexiest” polls. Jolie has been declared the Most Powerful Celebrity in the World by Forbes Magazine. Forbes does annual rankings of celebrity power, using some sort of complicated matrix of money earned from film and television work, endorsement deals, books, et cetera. It also takes into account some kind of fame meter, using data from assorted multimedia/polling/web stuff. The Top Ten of the Celebrity 100 is as follows (in descending order): Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey, Madonna, Beyonce Knowles, Tiger Woods, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, and Kobe Bryant. Try this for the complete list of the Celebrity 100.

Yes, you read that right. Aniston made the top ten – ahead of Brad. Which is weird, because of all of the players in the uncool Bermuda Triangle, I thought Brad had the best year. In addition to the truly underrated Coen brothers comedy Burn After Reading, Brad had a lot to do with the financial and critical success of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Button was up for a ton of Oscars, including a Best Actor nomination for Brad (his first in the lead category). His fame-meter is about the same as Angelina’s, and I do believe Brad makes more money than Angelina per film. Anyway, here’s Forbes’s take on the whole mess:

She’s rich. She’s talented. She’s beautiful. And now Angelina Jolie is the most powerful celebrity in the world.

Thanks to the release of several blockbuster movies and an endless sea of media buzz, Jolie has dethroned Oprah Winfrey to top this year’s Celebrity 100 list, Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s ultra famous.

Jolie raked in $27 million in the past 12 months thanks to a movie schedule that included Kung Fu Panda, Wanted and the not-yet-released spy thriller Salt. Even more impressive: The publicity she garnered following the birth of her twins, as well as the consistent headlines she grabs for her philanthropic efforts and her relationship with actor Brad Pitt, who ranks No. 9 on the list.

Winfrey drops to No. 2 on the list. The media maven has pocketed $275 million in the last year, making her the list’s top earner. Though viewership for her daily chat fest, The Oprah Winfrey Show, continues to erode, her earnings remain unchanged from a year ago.

In addition to Winfrey’s monthly magazine, she has a three-year, $55 million deal with XM Satellite Radio. Early next year, the self-made billionaire will roll out the lifestyle-themed Oprah Winfrey Network in partnership with Discovery Communications.

In a year filled with humbling bank failures and violent stock market swings, the earning power of the 2009 Celebrity 100 remained remarkably resilient. The cumulative earnings of the 2009 list totaled $4.1 billion, up slightly from last year’s $4 billion haul.

The primary reason celebrities are still making big money: Many stars are locked into long-term performance and endorsement contracts. If the economy does not improve, expect the downturn to catch up to the A-list next year

The Celebrity 100, which includes film and television actors, models, chefs, athletes, authors and musicians, is a measure of entertainment-related earnings and media visibility (exposure in print, television, radio and online). The earnings estimates consist of pre-tax income between June 2008 and June 2009. Management, agent and attorney fees are not deducted.

Rounding out the top five on the list are pop icon Madonna ($110 million), singer Beyoncé Knowles ($87 million) and golfer Tiger Woods ($110 million).

The Material Girl banked the majority of her millions on the road. Her “Hard Candy” tour rounded out 2008 as the year’s top-grossing international tour, raking in $280 million across 17 countries.

Knowles’ haul came from album sales, tour performances, films, a fashion collection and a lengthy list of endorsement deals.

Woods’ pile of cash came mostly from endorsements, appearance fees and a lucrative gig designing golf courses. He spent most of the year sidelined with a knee injury.

Among the newcomers on this year’s list: Twilight scribe Stephanie Meyer (No. 26) and country crooner Taylor Swift (No. 69). Meyer, who sold 29 million books and created a vampire frenzy, earned $50 million during the year-long period. Swift was the top-selling U.S. artist of 2008, banking $18 million off of a tour, album sales and endorsement deals.

Barack Obama joins the list as the first sitting head of state to land on the Celebrity 100. The President’s historic election last year helped him sell millions of books. He debuts on this year’s list at No. 49, with book earnings of $2.5 million for the 12-month period.
To make room for the new entries to the list, 37 bold-faced stars fell off. Among them: J.K. Rowling and Johnny Depp. Rowling lacked a new Harry Potter book, while Depp failed to release or collect on an installment of Pirates of the Caribbean.

[From Forbes]

Here’s something that goes unmentioned by Forbes – the top four most powerful celebrities are women. Take that, misogynists. Usually Will Smith is up around the top three, but he dropped to number 11 this year – perhaps the critical and financial failure of Seven Pounds was to blame. In any case, I find it hard to believe that somehow Kobe Bryant is more powerful than Will Smith. On another note, the top ten is also pretty racially diverse, so I have no complaints there. Interesting list!

Angelina is shown at Cannes on 5/19/09. Credit: Fame Pictures

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29 Responses to “Angelina Jolie is the most powerful celebrity, according to Forbes”

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  1. Is this the first time a single mother has topped this list? AJ for president!

  2. gem15 says:

    Seems all the haters have made this happen. I’m sure they’re all very happy about it! Happy Birthday! With the concentrated effort to destroy this woman they have only made her more powerful.

  3. Roma says:

    While I’m very neutral on the Angelina Jolie front, I don’t agree that she would be labeled a “single mother” anymore. She has a devoted partner who spends a lot of time parenting those kids too.

  4. Neelyo says:

    That is very cool that four women are in the top five. Though I kind of agree about Aniston. I guess that dead dog movie did better than I thought.

  5. I know most people consider AJ married to Brad, but she isn’t. I think that makes her accomplishments even more impressive because she isn’t the wife of someone famous.

  6. Because I Say So says:

    Isn’t “powerful” really the wrong word? If anyone of these people in the top 10 tell us to go out and do something, are you really going to do it? That’s power. Oprah, to my mind, still has that sort of power, so I don’t really understand this list.

    It should be: Who has the most interest in them and who is generating a lot of money because of it List.

  7. geronimo says:

    @ChristmasB – Disagree. It’s naive to say she’s achieved her fame as a single woman. It’s because she’s part of the so-called golden couple that she’s as famous as she is. Were she and Pitt not an item, there’s no way in the world either of them would be as ‘celebrated’ as they are. I like AJ, I’m luke-warm on Pitt, neither of them are great actors but what they have is an extremely successful brand, tailor-made for the media. It’s not talent that’s put them where they are, it’s the media manipulation of that ‘brand’.

  8. Jones says:

    Wait a minute where’s Spencer??? I demand a government sponsored inquest into the tabulation process. He is the most powerful being bar none..

  9. truth-SF says:

    Oh Jones, THANK YOU for giving me a laugh. Now my day is complete. :)

  10. DD says:

    @ChristmasB – sorry but the world does not see Angelina as single at ALL. Even though she is not officially married, her relationship with Brad Pitt is at the heart of the media frenzy surrounding her.

  11. ash says:

    Yeah, that list isn’t complete without Speidi! But that may be just the ‘media-whore list.’

  12. Cheyenne says:

    Congratulations and happy birthday to Angie. Brad must be very proud of her.

  13. Geronimo-by your theory, if they split today, their fame would plummet. I don’t see that happening-I think it would either stay the same, or rise, depending on who their new partners were. Christmas Babe

  14. DD-I don’t think the world views AJ the way it views Goldie Hawn or Susan Sarandon. A lot of people here do and in 15 years, I’ll probably feel the same. Christmas Babe

  15. geronimo says:

    @Christmas – No, with respect, you’re missing the point. They currently have the highest gossip rating of any celebrity couple and that wouldn’t change at all if they were to split. If anything, interest would escalate, and it would escalate because of their history together. They are now, in media terms, inseparable, regardless of whether or not they’re actually together as a couple.

    My point is, had they never gotten together in the first place, and provided such a dream team for the media (all the perfect tabloid ingredients were there), there would never have been that level of interest in either of them. Together, they became a media wet dream and that’s what they’ve been ever since.

  16. HashBrowns says:

    Bizarre how Oprah isn’t #1 even though she’s made more money than Angelina and has WAY more influence on the public than Angelina does.

    Maybe Forbes got tired of giving her the #1 spot? Because she is definitely the most powerful woman in show business. She’s given whole friggin SHOWS away to Dr. Phil and Rachel Ray, has her own extremely successful magazine, has her book club which is bizarrely effective (why should I care what Oprah reads?) in getting homebodies to read random stuff, and have you seen her house?

    And now she has her own channel? Even Martha didn’t get her own channel on tv.

    How she is below Angelina is, again, bizarre. Maybe Forbes is relying a bit too much on gossip rags to calculate how powerful someone in Hollywood is. You ask anyone who is more powerful in Hollywood, they’d say Oprah in a heartbeat. She has got her fingers in everything and can help anyone be successful in the business.

  17. Annie says:

    Yea, Oprah could stop the earth from spinning for just a second if she wanted to.

    I mean, how is a prick like Dr. Phil even relevant? Oprah.

  18. Geronimo-yeah, I reread the article and you’re right-AJ couldn’t have done it on her own. Apparently having Brad’s twins and being his SO gave her extra points. No wonder Oprah couldn’t compete.

  19. drica says:

    yeah i love aj

    oprah you suck this

  20. Cheyenne says:

    Geronimo: “Together, they became a media wet dream and that’s what they’ve been ever since.”

    LOL, can’t argue with that. Angie’s achievements are impressive, but they would never have garnered the media attention they have received if it wasn’t for the Infernal Triangle. Jennifer did her a favor.

  21. geronimo says:

    Thanks, Cheyenne, that’s exactly the point I was making. It was never my intention to dilute or take anything away from what she’s done with her life, only point out that the insane interest would never have arisen had she not become part of the media ‘golden couple’. In a lot of ways, it’s been a very negative thing for her. Less imo is always more.

  22. Anna says:

    Poor Jen made the list. Never underestimate the power of pity.

  23. Cheyenne says:

    Geronimo: agreed on all counts. It’s been very negative for her and I’m absolutely certain she didn’t invite it. Who in the world would want this kind of vituperation from the tabloids and the hysterical fans of her partner’s ex? She fell in love with a man who no longer loved his wife and wanted out. A bajillion other Hollywood marriages have foundered because one partner dumped his/her spouse for someone else, and none of them, except possibly Taylor/Fisher/Reynolds, has created the explosive reaction of Jolie/Pitt/Aniston. And even Taylor/Fisher/Reynolds didn’t drag on for five years. Reynolds married somebody else, Taylor ran off with Richard Burton, and everybody got tired of the whole thing and found other things to talk about.

  24. J says:

    That’s why Forbes gradually loses their circulation and becomes less relevant to the world. They cook up too many this kind of “list” for media buzz, eventually people get tired. Worst, sometimes the list just doesn’t make sense.

    To be honest, not even Oprah should be No2, if the survey considers the factors such as global influence because Oprah is not that famous and important outside America. Meanwhile, Ms Jolie may be favorite for internet and tabloid media, she doesn’t have the influence within the industry.

    No. I am not a hater. Just a media observer.

  25. Kevin says:

    AJ is very powerful. She is faster than a speeding bullet. She can destroy a marriage in a single bound!!!

  26. pregnancy says:

    yes, Angelina is very powerful and she looks so beautiful too.

  27. this is f'in hysterical says:

    I love it. It’s the Aniston fans constant stalking of Jolie that has made her SO MUCH MORE famous than she would be. Congratulations, GUYS! Karma, indeed. hahaha

  28. Ursula says:

    if she is so powerful, I wonder why she is not the cover. Wouldn’t she sell more according to their analysis?

    Plus if your Manager has served in the past as a member of Forbes Board of Directors since November 2001 like angie’s, ultimately, there will be conflict of interest. Geyer Kosinski is angie’s manager and he was a member of Forbes board of directors. He is executive producer (financially backed) for Wanted, M&MS and The Changeling. He’s also backing her next movie that they haven’t even started filming yet. He is also producing (Fox 2000/Patricia Cornwell Project) -starring jolie as Dr. Kay Scarpetta.

    Lets not kid ourselves, no amount of media attention would have gotten her in that position, then Brad Pitt would be number 2 or even one since he earned more and most media covers they have are shared. The truth is that Jolie has them in their pockets. Still they realise that putting her on the cover would make them look trashy. What irony.

  29. cassie says:

    Why isnt Madonna or Oprah on the cover they came in 2nd and 3rd. I guess putting them on the cover would make Forbes look trashy. Obviously Beyonce agreed to be on the cover because she in on tour. Angie only does magazine photo shoots covers when she is promoting a movie i.e July 2008 Vanity Fair or Entertainment Weekly for Wanted BTW Angie was on the cover in 2007 and she was #3 on the list in 2008