In recent years, women have picked up more leading roles in Hollywood films than ever. Considering that many of these films are grossing hundreds of millions, that means the women of Hollywood are cashing in big. In 2016 alone, the highest-paid actresses made a combined 250 million dollars. Women are now grossing almost as much as their male counterparts.
The Top 10 Highest Earning Actresses In 2024
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the list.
10. Viola Davis
Viola Davis starred in the legal thriller series How to Get Away with Murder from 2014 to 2020. For her portrayal of lawyer Annalise Keating, she won numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. The show also earned her seven-figure checks, which puts her in tenth place on our list.
Previously, she had starred in the comedy drama The Help, for which she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. She also played lead roles in the films Suicide Squad, Fences, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the latter of which earned her her fourth Academy Award nomination.
And more recently, she played Michelle Obama in the anthology drama series The First Lady, which follows the life of three First Ladies of the United States. It premiered on Showtime on April 17, 2022, but was canceled after one season.
That’s not all, she’s also starred in a number of theatrical productions including Seven Guitars, King Hedley II, Intimate Apparel, Fences, A Raisin in the Sun, and Everybody’s Ruby. Since 2014, she has also produced a number of television shorts and documentaries including American Koko, The Last Defense, and Two Sides.
Outside of acting, she also owns a production company called JuVee Productions with her husband. Earlier this year, she also released her memoir titled, Finding Me.
9. Elisabeth Moss
Elisabeth Moss currently stars in the dystopian drama series The Handmaid’s Tale. In it, she plays the role of June Osborne, a woman who is made a handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford after she is captured while trying to escape the country. Premiered on April 26, 2017, the series has received numerous awards including eight Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. For her portrayal of the handmaid, Moss also received a Golden Globe for Best Actress as well as a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress.
Previously, she also starred in the award-winning period drama Mad Men, which ran for seven seasons, from 2007 to 2015. Prior to that, she played the role of Zoey Bartlet in the NBC political drama The West Wing. That’s not all, she has also made guest appearances in the popular shows Grey’s Anatomy, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Ghost Whisperer, and The Simpsons.
Over the past couple of years, she has also starred in the films The French Dispatch, The Invisible Man, and Shortly, the latter of which she also produced. In 2015, she also played the titular character in the Broadway play The Heidi Chronicles.
8. Ellen Pompeo
Ellen Pompeo is best known for playing Meredith Grey in the popular medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. Following contract renegotiation in 2017, her earnings went up to $550,000 per episode, making her one of the highest paid female actors of all time. For her portrayal of the title character, she has also received numerous awards including four People Choice Awards and a Golden Globe Award nomination.
Premiered in 2005, the show is currently on its 19th season, which premiered on October 6, 2022. Aside from Pompeo, it also stars Chandra Wilson, James Pickens Jr., Kevin McKidd, Camilla Luddington, Caterina Scorsone, Kelly McCreary, among others.
In addition to Grey’s Anatomy, she has made guest appearances in other television series including Friends, Station 19, Strong Medicine, Law & Order , Strong Medicine, The Job, and Get Real. In 2019, she was also a guest judge on the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars.
Prior to starring in Grey’s Anatomy, she appeared in a number of films including Life of the Party, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Art Heist, Nobody’s Perfect, and Undermind.
7. Nicole Kidman
Nicole Kidman has starred in numerous films over the years including Days of Thunder, Far and Away, To Die For, Batman Forever, and Eyes Wide Shut. She also played the lead role in the 2002 drama film The Hours, for which she received an Academy Award for Best Actress. More recently, she also starred in Being the Ricardos, alongside Javier Bardem, J.K. Simmons, and Nina Arianda’. Released on December 10, 2021, the film ultimately earned her another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama.
On television, she’s perhaps best known for playing Celeste Wright in the drama series Big Little Lies, which ran from 2017 to 2019. For her portrayal of the character, she received two Primetime Emmy Awards, one for Outstanding Limited Series as one of the show’s producer and another for Outstanding Lead Actress.
Some of her other television credits include Top of the Lake: China Girl, Hemingway & Gellhorn, Nine Perfect Strangers, and The Undoing.
Aside from acting, she’s also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and is the founder of the production company Blossom Films. In 2020, she was named one of the greatest actresses of the twenty-first century by The New York Times.
6. Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt made her acting debut in a stage production of The Royal Family in 2001. She eventually appeared in the television film Boudica and in the miniseries Henry VIII, before appearing in the 2004 film My Summer of Love.
It wasn’t until 2006, however, that she rose to fame after starring in the comedy drama film The Devil Wears Prada. For her portrayal of Emily Charlton, she received a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. That same year, she starred in the television film Gideon’s Daughter, which earned her her first Golden Globe Award.
Since then, she has continued to appear in various films including The Young Victoria, Edge of Tomorrow, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Looper, The Adjustment Bureau, and Into the Woods. She also played an FBI agent in the 2015 crime film Sicario and a surrealist mother in the 2018 horror film A Quiet Place, the latter of which earned her a Screen Actors Guild Award.
More recently, she starred in A Quiet Place Part II, a direct sequel to the 2018 film, which premiered in the United States on May 28, 2021. She was joined by fellow actors Cillian Murphy, Millicent Simmonds, Djimon Hounsou, and Noah Jupe.
5. Melissa McCarthy
Melissa McCarthy was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2016. Throughout her career, she has starred in numerous television series including Gilmore Girls, Samantha Who?, and Rita Rocks. From 2010 to 2016, she also starred as Molly Flynn on the sitcom Mike & Molly, for which she received a Primetime Emmy Award in 2011.
More recently, she starred in the series Nobodies, Nine Perfect Strangers, and God’s Favorite Idiot, all of which she also produced. Earlier this year, she also lent her voice to Homer’s stepbrother in The Simpsons. Previously, she had voiced one of the penguins in the animated series The Penguins of Madagascar.
On the big screen, she gained critical acclaim for her role in the 2011 comedy film Bridesmaid, for which she recieved an Academy Award nomination. She also starred in The Heat, Identity Thief, Spy, Tammy, The Boss, and more recently, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, for which she received another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.
In addition to acting, she also has her own clothing line called Melissa McCarthy Seven7, which was launched in 2015. That same year, they released their first clothing collection for plus-sized women.
4. Gal Gadot
Gal Gadot is an Israeli model and actress. She made her international debut in the 2009 film Fast & Furious, where she played the part of Gisele Yashar. Since then, she has reprised the role in Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7, all of which have gained critical acclaim.
In addition to that, she’s known for playing Wonder Woman in the DC Universe. She made her debut in the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and has also starred in the films Wonder Woman and Zack Synder’s Justice League.
In 2020, she reprised her role in the sequel Wonder Woman 1984, for which she received numerous accolades including an MTV Movie & TV Award, a Jupiter Award, a Kids’ Choice Award, among many others. She was joined by fellow actors Chris Pine, Pedro Pascal, Connie Nielsen, Kristen Wiig, and Robin Wright.
More recently, she also starred in the films Red Notice and Death on the Nile, the latter of which came out on February 11, 2022. She will also be starring in the upcoming films Heart of Stone, Snow White, and Cleopatra.
3. Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep is considered one of the best actresses of her generation. Throughout her career, which has spanned over five decades, she has won numerous accolades including three Academy Awards, eight Golden Globe Awards, two British Academy Film Awards, three Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Some of her early film credits include Julia, for which she received her first Primetime Emmy Award, The Deer Hunter, Out of Africa, Before and After, Music of the Heart, Dancing at Lughnasa, Kramer vs. Kramer, and Sophie’s Choice. She also starred in the 1995 romantic drama film The Bridges of Madison, which made her one of the highest-earning actors of the 90s.
She later starred in the films The Hours, Adaptation, Doubt, It’s Complicated, and The Devil Were Prada, all of which were met with praise. She also starred in the HBO miniseries Angels in America and the drama series Big Little Lies, the former of which earned her another Primetime Emmy Award.
For her contribution to American culture, she received the AFI Life Achievement Award from the Film Society of Lincoln Centre in 2008. Not only that but she was also awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama in 2010.
2. Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie played her first leading role in the 1995 film Hackers. She then starred in the films Gia and George Wallance before playing the titular character in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which established her as a Hollywood star. Continuing on her with her acting career, she went on to star in the films The Tourist, Salt, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and Wanted. She also starred in the drama film Changeling, for which she received an Academy Award for Best Actress.
From there, she received critical acclaim for her portrayal in the Disney fantasy film Maleficent. She also voiced Tigress in the Kung Fu Panda series and directed and wrote several war dramas, including First They Killed My Father, Unbroken, and In the Land of Blood and Honey. Some of her other film credits include Come Away, The One and Only Ivan, By the Sea, and A Mighty Heart.
More recently, she starred as Thena in the Marvel superhero film Eternals. She also reprised her role as the mistress of evil in the 2019 film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Besides acting, she’s also known for her humanitarian efforts. Over the years, she has undergone numerous field missions to war zones and refugee camps and has visited many countries including Yemen, Cambodia, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Ukraine.
1. Sofia Vergara
Sofia Vergara is an American and Colombian model and actress. After co-hosting a couple of Spanish shows, she landed a role in the 2003 film Chasing Papi. She then went on to appear in Madea Goes to Jail and Meet the Browns, the former of which earned her an ALMA Award nomination.
In 2009, she joined the main cast of the ABC comedy series Modern Family. For her portrayal of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, she received many accolades including four Golden Globe Award nominations, eleven Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, and four Primetime Emmy Award nominations.
Since then, she has also appeared in the films The Three Stooges, New Year’s Eve, The Smurfs, Fading Gigolo, Machete Kills, and Hot Pursuit. She also lent her voice to various characters in the animated films Escape from Planet Earth, Happy Feet Two and The Emoji Movie. Not only that, but she also became one of the judges on America’s Got Talent in 2020.
On top of all that, she also has a number of endorsement and licensing deals, including a line of furniture at Rooms To Go and jeans at Walmart.