Angelina Jolie , highest-ranking woman , hollywood , showbiz //
Here we come to the highest-ranking woman on the list. No female director made it into the top 10 or, depressingly, anywhere in the top 50. You'll have to skim down to find Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow. But Angelina Jolie, 35, is in a league of her own. Consider her rivals. Sandra Bullock earns more hard cash, according to Forbes, but even with that Oscar no one is making any claims for her credibility. Anne Hathaway may be better value for money, but is hardly setting marquees alight. A few years ago, Nicole Kidman could have given Jolie a run for her money, but who can remember her last decent film? Julianne Moore is a stunning actor, but the whole celebrity-power thing just isn't her bag.
Like her or loathe her, Jolie doesn't play the game – she sets the rules. She'll do serious proper acting: heart-wrenching as Mariane Pearl in A Mighty Heart. Then she'll go off and do her predatory dominatrix thing in an action thriller such as Wanted. As everyone likes to say, she is the only woman who can open an action picture; the cold-war thriller Salt was rewritten for her after Tom Cruise bailed out; it took $46m on its first weekend. And, last month, she announced she was making her scripting and directorial debut with a love story set against the backdrop of the Bosnian war.
Then there is the Brangelina phenomenon – which, of course, is one big joke. But the Jolie-Brad Pitt merger has taken both actors to a new level of world-conquering celebrity. (You can't help thinking Pitt got the better deal: Jolie still looks as if she's working her balls off). The whole package – Brangelina, movies, magazine covers – earned Jolie the top position on Forbes's list of international celebrities last year. The inside story is that she is a master manipulator of the press: "She's scary-smart," a former editor of American magazines Us Weekly and Star, Bonnie Fuller, said in 2008. "But smart only takes you so far. She also has an amazing knack, perhaps more than any other star, for knowing how to shape a public image."