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Good news: Jennifer Lawrence is the highest-paid actress in the world. Bad news: she still earns £18million BELOW her male equivalent

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Jennifer Lawrence has been revealed as the highest paid woman in the acting business - but the new figures reveal that the Hollywood pay gap is still alive and gaping.

Jennifer Lawrence has banked an impressive $52 million (£33 million) in the past year, making her the best-paid actress in Hollywood - according to the latest Forbes annual report of the highest paid male and female actors in the world. 

Largely thanks to her role as Katniss Everdeen in the film adaptations of the The Hunger Games, that puts her at around $16.5 million ahead of Scarlett Johansson, who came second on the list with her $35.5 million pay cheque.

As eye-watering as those numbers are however, Lawrence at the top is still vastly outweighed by her male colleagues.

Robert Downey Jr landed top of the list of highest-paid male actors this year, with his role as Iron Man in the Avengers film series' raking in an estimated yearly income of $80 million.

That puts him a clear $28 million ahead of Jennifer Lawrence, whose role as the face of Dior is thought to have contributed a large sum to her total, and $44.5 million ahead of his Avengers co-star Scarlett Johansson.

Robert Downey Jr

Robert Downey Jr earns $28 million more than Hollywood's highest-paid actress Jennifer Lawrence

In fact, the figures on the men’s list don’t even start to come to close to Scarlett Johansson's (albeit still mega) wage, until Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan’s yearly sum of $33.5 million rings in at number seven.

Summing up the pay gap in one scarily sweeping statement, the Forbes report observes that: “the World’s 18 Highest-Paid Actresses earned a combined $281 million before taxes and fees – $660 million less than the 34 World’s Highest-Paid Actors, who banked a cumulative $941 million.”

Some have tried to explain the gap by noting that there are simply fewer roles for women than men, though of course the point does little more than highlight the industry's wider issues of sexism, recently commented on by Emma Thompson, Meryl Streep and Romola Garai.

Streep has also weighed in on the recent scandal surrounding the huge pay gap discrepancy between Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams in American Hustle, compared to their male co-stars Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale and Jeremy Renner.

Talking with the Sunday Times, she says: “You could argue that the popularity of that film had a lot more to with Jennifer Lawrence than it did with Jeremy Renner [who was paid more than Lawrence]. That kind of annoys me.”

Stars including Natalie Portman have previously spoken about their hopes that young actresses like Kristen Stewart and Lawrence will be able to help close the pay gap, but the new figures like these bring into sharp focus just how much work really needs to be done.

See the full lists of the top 10 best-paid female and male actors of the past year according to Forbes, below:

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Scarlett Johansson ranks number two on the best-paid actress list

Forbes' 10 highest paid female actors of the year

1. Jennifer Lawrence - $52 million

2. Scarlett Johansson - $35.5 million

3. Melissa McCarthy - $23 million

4. Bingbing Fan - $21 million

5. Jennifer Aniston - $16.5 million

6. Julia Roberts - $16 million

7. Angelina Jolie - $15 million

8. Reese Witherspoon - $15 million

9. Anne Hathaway - $12 million

10. Kristen Stewart - $12 million

Forbes' 10 highest paid male actors of the year

1. Robert Downey Jr. - $80 million

2. Jackie Chan - $50 million

3. Vin Diesel - $47 million

4. Bradley Cooper - $41.5 million

5. Adam Sandler - $41 million

6. Tom Cruise - $40 million

7. Amitabh Bachchan - $33.5 million

8. Salman Khan - $33.5 million

9. Akshay Kumar - $32.5 million

10. Mark Wahlberg - $32 million

Images: RexFeatures / Words: Amy Lewis

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