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If we had asked you a decade ago who the most valuable actor in Hollywood would be in 2012, chances are you wouldn't have said Robert Downey Jr. But nowadays, it's no surprise at all that RDJ has topped Vulture's list of the 100 actors and actresses who deliver the most bang for the buck to movie studios.
Between the blockbuster successes of the Iron Man movies, The Avengers and the Sherlock Holmes series, Downey -- or, as Vulture has dubbed him, "the comeback kid" -- is a bona fide star and undeniable moneymaker.
So how exactly did Vulture figure out Downey's value? With help from The Guardian's statistician, Harry Enten, and a complex algorithm that takes into account an actor's studio value, domestic and international box office intake, magazine cover appearances, tabloid value, Oscar nominations and wins, overall critics' scores, and that intangible factor known as "likability."
That's why, to us, the top 10 actors and actresses on the list aren't that surprising. Will Smith gets the No. 2 spot, which makes sense thanks to his overwhelming popularity and his ability to play everything from romantic-comedy lead to action hero. Following him are Johnny Depp at No 3., Denzel Washington at No. 4, Brad Pitt at No. 5., Matt Damon at No. 6, Clint Eastwood at No. 7 and George Clooney at No. 10.
Pitt's fiancee Angelina Jolie is the highest-ranked woman on the list at No. 8, leading the charge of Hollywood's most powerful actresses. Meryl Streep -- "the queen," as Vulture calls her -- places at No. 9, with Sandra Bullock at No. 11, The Hunger Games starlet Jennifer Lawrence at No. 16 and Emma Stone at No. 19.
We're happy to see Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe make the list at No. 14, although noticeably absent from the top 20 are Twilight power couple Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Stewart doesn't place until No. 38, while Pattinson holds tight at No. 59, outranked by costar Taylor Lautner at No. 49. That's likely because the trio's non-Twilight movies typically underperform, despite the impressive successes of The Twilight Saga films.
It's also refreshing that people like The Vow costars Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum place high up on the list, while comedians like Steve Carell, Ben Stiller and Zach Galifianakis made it into the top 30. And we'll take it as a good omen for the future of movies that Lawrence and Stone, the two youngest actresses to make the top 20, are known for being down-to-earth, girl-next-door types instead of ultra-skinny model types. Keep the positive role models coming, Hollywood!
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