In this time of economic uncertainty and the potential evaporating of the old, reliable Hollywood star system, some math nerds may have saved the jobs of ten lucky actresses. Forbes Magazine has recently completed its annual list of female stars that provide the most bang for the buck. Their poll process is pretty complex. To qualify, actors must have appeared in at least three movies over the past five years that opened on 500 screens or more. Someone then adds up and averages the actors' salary on each film, each film's budget and each film's final gross. This year's winner: Naomi Watts, who earned $44 for each $1 she was paid. Despite starring in interesting movies like The Painted Veil, Funny Games and Eastern Promises, it looks as if Watts' place on the list was snagged mostly by King Kong, which earned $550 million worldwide.
In second place, we have Jennifer Connelly, who earned $41 for each $1 she was paid. Her film The Day the Earth Stood Still earned $80 million in the US, but on a $79 million budget. Her success probably resides mostly in the hit chick flick He's Just Not That Into You. It's easier to figure out the third place winner, Rachel McAdams, who starred in a string of more modest hits, like The Notebook, Red Eye, Wedding Crashers, The Family Stone and The Time Traveler's Wife.
In fourth place we have Natalie Portman, earning $28 for every $1 she was paid, probably thanks to Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith and V for Vendetta. In fifth place came Meryl Streep, earning $27 for every $1 she was paid; Forbes credits her success mainly to the huge Mamma Mia! (and probably having nothing to do with Lions for Lambs).
Rounding out the top ten, we have: Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway and Hilary Swank. Interestingly, neither Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie cracked the top 10.