Scarlett Johansson is the highest paid actress of 2019


We discussed the news last week that Dwayne Johnson was Forbes 2019’s highest paid actor. Forbes released their actress list on Friday. And 2019’s highest paid actress is (drum roll, please) Scarlett Johansson. Oh… that’s not that surprising, she was last year’s highest paid actress too. Thanks, Marvel!

Black Widow’s most lucrative superpower? Her negotiating skills. For the second year in a row, Scarlett Johansson tops Forbes’ list of the highest-paid actresses, earning $56 million.

That includes a lot of Marvel money, like an eight-figure check for her upcoming Black Widow film and an impressive back-end payment of about $35 million for the $2.8 billion-grossing Avengers: Endgame.

Johansson is joined on the list by newcomers Elisabeth Moss and Margot Robbie, as well as returnees like Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon. Together, the world’s ten highest-paid actresses tallied a combined $314.6 million between June 1, 2018, and June 1, 2019, before fees and taxes. That’s 69% more than last year’s cumulative total, but still far less than the top ten actors’ $588.3 million.

[From Forbes]

I was joking on Thursday when I said that the lists were spaced so we didn’t note the discrepancy between the actors’ pay and the actresses’ but maybe I wasn’t that far off the mark. Almost $275M difference between the two lists’ totals. Just for reference, Dwayne made $34M more than ScarJo – and unlike ScarJo he hasn’t expressed his willingness to play a tree. To put it even more in perspective, ScarJo’s numbers would put her at number eight on the men’s list. Behind Adam Sandler (but, funnily, knocking Chris Evans out of his spot). No other woman on the top ten list would rank on the men’s. Technically, Sofia Vergara would tie with Will Smith but ScarJo knocked them both off so no, she’d stand alone. The rest of the top earning women are:

1. Scarlett Johansson
2. Sofia Vergara
3. Reese Witherspoon
4. Nicole Kidman
5. Jennifer Aniston
6. Kaley Cuoco
7. Elisabeth Moss
8. Margot Robbie
9. Charlize Theron
10. Ellen Pompeo

What’s also interesting to me is the changeover from last year’s list. Only Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and ScarJo are back again while on the men’s list, all of them are repeats except for Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper (both aided by Marvel). So not only are men making a lot more money, they get to keep making money while the women have to fight for the scraps thrown off the men’s table.





Photo credit: Avalon and WENN Photos

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86 Responses to “Scarlett Johansson is the highest paid actress of 2019”

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  1. Brunswickstoval says:

    Huh? It’s weird when you don’t watch any marvel films you really are out of touch

  2. LeaTheFrench says:

    Well done, Elisabeth Moss!
    There are some seriously overrated actresses on that list…
    Surprised Emma Stone did not make the cut, she’s everywhere.

    • Erinn says:

      Yes, thank god she can help keep $cientology afloat.

      • LeaTheFrench says:

        She’s a scientologist ??
        I was not aware. Well, that’ s a major disappointment. I loved her in The Square and Top of the Lake…
        And re-ugh.

      • Spicecake38 says:

        IKR,she’s in a series about a cult ,all the while Scientology is her religion of choice.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        Exactly. She grosses me tf out. On a show about women being oppressed while being part of a cult that oppresses women. She’s such a phony.

      • Erinn says:

        Oh it’s super disappointing. Especially given her current work haha. It’s a shame, really.

      • Bettyrose says:

        I don’t think I’ve ever related to a character as much as Peggy Olsen, and I like that EM isn’t Hollywood beautiful (yes she’s adorable) but I’m getting tired of her getting all the best female roles. Even if she weren’t a cultist, strong female characters should be more diverse than one it girl. But throw in her cult connections and Leah Remini’s quest to find Shelly Miscaviage, and I’m over it with EM.

  3. Millennial says:

    Sofia is the only woman of color. That being said, I am heartened that more than half the women on the list are 40+. Nicole and Jen are both 50+. That’s awesome .

  4. Mia4s says:

    Wow is that a white list! I mean…yikes. The men’s list was 4/10 POC.

    Sure there’s Sofia Vegara but otherwise…oh wait I keep forgetting Scarlett is Asian….. 😒

    • BayTampaBay says:

      Did not know Scarlett was Asian. I thought Scarlett was Danish and Polish-Russian.

      • Mia4s says:

        Uhhhhhh, awkward. I was being sarcastic, she’s not Asian and she sure as hell isn’t a woman of colour. It’s a reference to Ghost in the Shell.

        She’s also a tree apparently.

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Mia4s@ Sorry! I did not get the sarcasm as I have not had my mandatory six cups of coffee yet! LOL!

      • claudia says:

        Scarlett is half Danish and half Ashkenazi Jewish. She “looks” white, of course, but to an actual neo Nazi (or a real 1940s Nazi) she certainly is not white.

    • minx says:

      Can’t stand ScarJo, she is such a mediocre actress.

  5. NJ says:

    I don’t believe these numbers, theres so many chinese actresses (and actors) who make way more than this.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    What are the figures for Aniston’s earnings based on? She hasn’t been in anything noteworthy or financially successful for years and if it were residuals for Friends, the other two actresses would be there too. Is all this money from pushing products?

    • Nanea says:

      I don’t get this either.
      Highest paid should not include endorsements, as those are distorting things massively.

    • Rapunzel says:

      LP- Aniston and Witherspoon are in that new Apple series The Morning Show. I bet they netted big bucks for that. IDK if that explains it though.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Even her “producer” credits don’t add up to much.

      @Rapunzel, would that one show that nobody has seen yet be enough? Sandra Bullock isn’t on the list and she had Bird Box, which she also produced, and Ocean’s Eight in the past year. Taraji Henson, Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis, Jessica Chastain, Brie Larson, Annette Benning, Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Tessa Thompson, Vera Farmigia and Laura Dern have all worked steadily during the past year, some in successful blockbusters., while Aniston has not.

    • Lucy2 says:

      I assume Netflix threw a lot of money at her for that Adam Sandler movie.

      If endorsements are not counted, that would probably knock Sofia out as well, She’s not making all of that from modern family.

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      They include any endorsements or beauty contracts in the total

      • BayTampaBay says:

        @Lucy2, I read somewhere that Sofia was the highest paid actress on network broadcast TV but I am sure her $$$ pales in comparison to actresses on cable & streaming shows.

      • lucy2 says:

        I think Ellen Pompeo might make slightly more than her on TV now, but Sofia has a bunch of endorsements and deals that really add to her wealth. She was really smart and struck while the iron was hot.

    • Kebbie says:

      The period they’re calculating is June 2018 – June 2019. I’m guessing the total includes Dumplin’, Murder Mystery, The Morning Show, and her endorsement deals.

  7. Léna says:

    In order to try to explain the difference between The Rock and Scarlett Johansson, I went to look at the wikipedia page, thinking that maybe the reason for such a huge difference was the number of movies they made last year. But it looks like Dwayne is not making so many movies compared to Scarlett, even though he makes only “Blockbuster” types of movies. So yeah, they are on both categories not the best actors anyways, who are not making the most interesting choices.

    • Snazzy says:

      Oh see I commented below that I thought that part of the difference was because he made so many more movies. But I guess his TV shows and endorsements count too right?

    • Original T.C. says:

      One major difference is the men are given bigger parts in movies and/or they are the big name in the movie. I mean how much should you pay someone who isn’t yet a big name like Margot Robbie for saying a few words or spending 15 minutes in a 2hr film? And even less scraps for WOC.

      • Léna says:

        For sure Original TC. I just assume a part of the difference could be explained by the difference in number of projets they both had.

  8. Chelly says:

    God, they make so much money

  9. Snazzy says:

    While it’s true the discrepancy between DJ and Scarjo is significant, he also churns out a lot more content than she does. I mean the man is always working. I’m sure that has a part to play as well.

    Not for the others though 🙂

  10. Rogue says:

    I’m surprised Elizabeth Moss is on this list. Is this for her TV work? Wow if so.

    Very few movies are making money like a franchise movie these days so not surprised actors like Scarjo involved in Marvel too the list.

  11. Jerusha says:

    I wouldn’t pay a dime to see some of those listed, but really-Kaley Cuoco and Ellen Pompeo?? The fact that they make that kind of money and Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Angela Bassett, Taraji P. Henson, etc., etc., etc., don’t even make the list is difficult to swallow.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Pompeo and Cuoco are due to starring in very long running, successful TV shows and royalties from those shows also running in syndication. Pompeo has been carefully structuring her contracts for years and could probably give lessons on how to negotiate a contract. But Taraji Henson and Viola Davis also both have long-running TV shows and they make successful films too so their absence is a real puzzlement. And Spencer has major producer credits too. While Aniston, who hasn’t done anything in years, sits up there in # 5

      • BayTampaBay says:

        I am sure Aniston on the list is due to her merchandising contracts with Aveeno & Living Proof.

    • sandy says:

      They’re actresses on long running tv shows. None of the other actresses you name have been on a show for as long. Cuoco will never be on this list again; I think Pompeo has a better shot if she wants to do another show.

      • Jerusha says:

        I’m quite aware of that. I guess the fact of being an ensemble member of a crappy tv show outweighs talent is just very frustrating. But, I guess you could look at all the arts and find similar patterns. Quality doesn’t always rule. Lowest common denominator and all that.

    • Busybody says:

      @Jerusha: thank you for your service to our youth! I’m a high school teacher (sped) and not only is my pay depressing for the amount of education and work I do, but I also receive little respect from the public. I tutor higher level math (for extra $) and, just last week, a student told me that he doesn’t want to major in his preferred humanities subject in college because “all you can do with that major is teach” with such disdain in his voice…

      Edit: meant to reply to Jerusha below, where she wrote that she was a librarian for 40 years. Oops!

      • Jerusha says:

        Oh, but thank you. The area you work in requires a saint, imo. So many varied diagnoses fall under SPED and here in my town they’re all lumped together and most SPED classes held 25 to 30 students. I don’t know how you do it.
        What is especially frustrating is to then look at the athletics department. The football coach taught no academic classes, just football, which meant he oversaw about 35 students a day during football season. Once the season was over, they wandered. He made extra for being the coach, plus another $10,000 for being head of athletic department, plus another $7500 for running the guys around in 100 degree heat in July. But since football is where Alabama excels-Roll Tide-the state knows where to put the money.
        Again, thank you for your service.

    • LeaTheFrench says:


  12. Adrien says:

    Because I keep seeing her in every b-movie and TV series trailers on Youtube, I imagine Emma Roberts would be in the top 3. I checked her imdb page and was surprised only 58 acting jobs were credited to her. I’m joking, of course.

  13. Giddy says:

    I get it that there is a large discrepancy between the men’s and women’s pay. And I certainly believe that there should be more equality. However, it’s hard for me to get very concerned when we are talking about millions of dollars. To put it another way, I personally don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t love to trade incomes with the lowest female earner on that list. I will save my concern and sympathy for the nurses, schoolteachers, and single mothers who struggle to make ends meet.

    • Jerusha says:

      Thank you. I was a high school librarian for 40 years with a Master’s Degree the entire time. When I retired four years ago I was making approximately $52,000. What the support personnel are paid is near criminal.

    • Dani says:

      I came here to say this, but you said it better, so I will just agree. I find i hard to have sympathy for these women making less than men when they are all making millions and millions of dollars while normal every day women are making pennies compared to their men counterparts.

    • Cindy says:

      This so much. Like I don’t think it’s fair the actresses make so much less than their male counterparts, but come on now, even a upper-class white man with a college degree would happily trade incomes with the lowest scorers on that list. A Hollywood actresses payment only looks unfair compared to a Hollywood actor. They make a crap ton of money compared to anyone else.

      • Glove78 says:

        I think the important issue that this list (as well as lists of c-suite gender pay discrepancies) is that these woman (should) have the most amount of power to negotiate their pay and they are still drastically underpaid compared to men. Whether any actors or executives (female or male) *deserve* their enormous paychecks is a different question. If SJ makes this much less and everyone knows it will be published, imagine how much harder it is for hardworking, underpaid, underpowered women negotiating in the blindness of unknown salary ranges.

  14. CharliePenn says:

    That list is white as hell, and also not particularly talented. The only two actresses on that list who I’ve seen to display a real, compelling talent are Moss and Theron.

    • Kebbie says:

      You don’t think Nicole Kidman has a compelling talent?! I’d say Nicole, Reese, Elisabeth, Charlize, and even Margot are all quite talented, some more reliably than others.

      • CharliePenn says:

        I know Nicole has gotten more and more buzz for her talent, and of course I’m happy to see a woman succeed and grow as an artist. But this kind of thing is subjective and in my own opinion no… I always get a very flat feeling from her. I just don’t see it. I have watched some of her recent work and while I feel she’s gotten better at choosing compelling scripts, I just don’t see her as a “top ten” actress and I’m never very drawn in by her performances.
        To each their own! You are definitely in the majority in your opinion of her.

      • Grant says:

        I think Nicole is incredible, probably one of the best on this list. She was great on Big Little Lies, but even before that–her performance in To Die For was a career best that should have won all the awards IMO.

      • Kebbie says:

        To Die For is my absolute favorite of her performances

      • Toi Filles says:

        If you liked To Die For, you might also enjoy her recent dark comedy The Family Fang. IIRC, it was Kidman who optioned the novel & approached Jason Bateman to direct it. Bonus casting of Christopher Walken.

      • lucy2 says:

        Those 5 are the standouts to me as well, I think they are all extremely talented and for the most part choose interesting roles, and make projects happen for themselves through producing.

        I wouldn’t say the other 5 are UNtalented either, just not to the level of someone like Nicole or Charlize. Most of them were fortunate to be cast in projects that turned out to be long running and extremely profitable.

  15. Naddie says:

    Kinda sad when you see that great actresses like Amy Adams, Viola Davis, Emily Blunt aren’t among them. Also, I expected Jennifer Lawrence. And oh, I loathe Sofia Vergara.

  16. truthhurts says:

    These lists are concocted by these folks agents. What does Sophia maker her money from? Certainly not a TV show. Jen Aniston’s agent has thrown her on this list every year. Do you really think she is making millions from Friends re runs. The Netflix three- four movie deal would have been revealed if she made millions upon millions like they announced about the Apple streaming show. Nicole and Charlize were in three plus movies I can see 20 plus million. Scarjo got Marvel paychecks so I can see that.

    • Linda says:

      Aniston makes bank from her endorsements like Aveeno, Smart water. That’s why she is on this list. That woman is financially savvy.

  17. BC says:

    List so white.

  18. line says:

    For me this are lists who is ditches because they take different factors into account instead of taking a single element into account the salary that the actors or actresses earn for making a film ( also separates the actors or actresses from the series and movies).

  19. Valiantly Varnished says:

    This list just proves that when it comes to the money Hollywood is still as white as ever. Not a SINGLE brown woman on that list. I had someone on Twitter have the audacity to tell me that that’s because no black woman has has as much box office success. I politely broke the number down to a fraction for him. ScarJo outside of the Avengers hasn’t had a hit film in nearly five years. And yet she’s the highest paid actress in Hollywood. Black actresses make 40 cent on the dollar of what white actresses make. Lupita Ny’ongo was in one of the highest grossing non-franchise film of the year. She’s an Oscar-winning actress whose last few films have ALL broker the $200mil mark. Her net worth? $8mil.
    And I know other factors play a part in this but even those factors are skewed.

    • Nanea says:

      All of the BP actresses should be much more visible in public, for starters – just look at Florence Kasumba stealing the scene from under ScarJo’s nose in Captain America Civil War because she’s got something ScarJo doesn’t have – talent and charisma.

      And they should of course be paid a lot more.

    • lucy2 says:

      Lupita should get an increase after Us, she was great in that and it did well, but so far it seems like she’s done smaller budget movies or smaller roles in bigger movies. I hope that changes now though, because she is incredibly talented and deserves a bigger salary and bigger movies for sure.
      She also should have a zillion endorsement deals, because she is so incredibly gorgeous and photogenic.

  20. FredsMother says:

    So, when are they gonna cast Ms. Scarlett as Toni Morrison?

  21. phlyfiremama says:

    Here, let me fix that headline: Highest OVERpaid Actress. All of them.

  22. Grant says:

    I love me some beautiful Sofia Vergara but what is she doing that got her the #2 spot on this list? Modern Family is on the way out… Is her Cover Girl deal really that lucrative? I feel like I haven’t seen a SV Cover Girl ad since 2014…

    • Kebbie says:

      She’s got a clothing line at Walmart and I’ve seen her in commercials for Pepsi, Hulu, Rooms to Go, Head and Shoulders, Ninja coffee, and Covergirl. And that’s just off the top of my head. She’s like Kristen Bell, she doesn’t turn endorsement money down.

  23. Valerie says:

    This list is so white. Most of these actors are interchangeable with one another. Kaley Cuoco???!

  24. SuperStef says:

    I’ll never understand the appeal of Kaley Cuoco. She’s a terrible actress!

    Glad to see several women over 40/50 on this list and not a bunch of 19 yo Disney kids.

  25. Anna says:

    Do americans consider Sofia Vergara a Woc?

    • Thais says:

      I was going to comment on this! It’s so strange isn’t it?
      I’m Brazilian and have darker skin than Sofia, but like her I was born in a upper middle class family. Private school, foreign languages, musical and ballet classes, the whole deal. It’s always a bit startling to see that Americans would consider a middle class or poor white woman more privileged than people with our background.

  26. Kathryn says:

    My first thought on that Ellen Pompeo pic is LOVE the outfit but girl that styling smh. Why does the blush match the outfit, why the wet hair? Omg would have been perfect with neutral dewy makeup and a big topknot

  27. SURFCHICK says:

    I had no clue. Never watched any Marvel movie. Elisabeth Moss needs a stylist and a day at the beach.