The end of summer is symbolized by a number of different things: the leaves slowly turning golden, the rush of back to school sales, and of course, the publication of the annual Forbes Highest Paid Actors list. Like clockwork, they have released their annual list of top earners in Hollywood on Thursday, and the results should not shock anyone: Jennifer Lawrence is 2015's highest paid actress. It's a well earned ranking, due largely in part to her starring role in The Hunger Games franchise. With a yearly income of $52 million, she has a huge lead on the rest of the actresses on the list, up 16.5 million from no. 2 on the list, Scarlett Johansson. This is clearly a staggering sum compared to a normal income, but is still far below Forbes' highest paying actor Robert Downey Jr., who comes in at a colossal $80 million — thanks to Iron Man/The Avengers.
Regardless of ranking, every woman on this list is massively talented. While many of the actresses are irrevocably attached to a movie or franchise (you can't really think of Julia Roberts without Pretty Woman, can you?), they all have huge range, and some fantastic, under the radar films that you just cannot miss. For your viewing pleasure, I have collected a list of the top paid actresses' more underrated gems, perfect for a weekend marathon.
Jennifer Lawrence: $52 Million
Lawrence is well known for making Oscar-worthy movies, and her frequent collaborations with David O Russell. Less people know she was in The Beaver, an incredibly quirky movie about a man who adopts a beaver hand-puppet as his only way to communicate. This was largely overshadowed by the myriad of Mel Gibson controversies, and your mileage on the film may very depending on your Gibson-tolerance. However, Lawrence and Jodie Foster are both outstanding in it.
Scarlett Johansson: $35.5 Million
The erstwhile Black Widow is the only actress on this list able to cash in on The Avengers money, being the sole female staple in the movies (apart from Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill). Before she was a superhero, and long before she rocked the romantic comedies, she was Rebecca in Ghost World. A cult classic, this film perfectly captures adolescent agony and the loneliness of growing up.
Julia Roberts: $16 Million
There is a charming Roberts movie that no one has really heard of — it's about an English bookshop owner who happens to meet the most famous actress in the world and they... just kidding. Of course you've seen Notting Hill. In fact, you've likely seen most of Roberts' films, so I'd like to draw your attention to an early classic you may have missed: Flatliners. It's a sci-fi horror film starring Kiefer Sutherland, Kevin Bacon, and Roberts, and is so wonderfully '90s that it's a must watch.
Angelina Jolie: $15 Million
This powerhouse actress/humanitarian has a ton of amazing credits to her name, but one of my all time favorites (and possibly less well known, as far as Jolie movies can be) is Changeling. Set in the 1920s, Jolie plays a mother whose son was kidnapped. A child is returned to her, but, when she realizes he isn't her son, the police turn on her and have her sent to a psychiatric ward. It's a dark film, and Jolie is arresting in it. No pun intended.
Reese Witherspoon: $15 Million
The girl next door and reigning Rom Com queen has been mixing it up with grittier roles lately, but one of her best has to be Penelope. A modernized fairy tale, it stars Christina Ricci as a girl with a pig nose, learning to love herself just the way she is. Criminally underrated.
Anne Hathaway: $12 Million
A polarizing actress, Hathaway has been making hit after hit since she came on the scene with The Princess Diaries. One of her best romantic films out there is Nicholas Nickleby, an adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel about a man trying to save his family and friends from exploitation. Come for the drama, stay for Charlie Hunnam, Kevin McKidd, and Jamie Bell in one movie.
Kristen Stewart: $12 Million
Speaking of polarizing, it doesn't get more charged than Stewart. Love her or hate her, try checking out Stewart in The Yellow Handkerchief before you judge. It's an awesome flick, and Stewart is outstanding in it. She doesn't even fidget!
Cameron Diaz: $11 Million
Is Being John Malcovich too well known for this list? Maybe, but it is one of the best movies out there, and it doesn't get nearly the acclaim it deserves. Diaz is fantastic in it. If you have't yet seen this one, stop everything and watch it immediately.
Gwyneth Paltrow: $9 Million
Coming in 9th, Paltrow would have ranked much higher had Pepper Pots been included in The Avengers movie as more than just a name check. Still, she is doing just fine for herself. For one of Paltrow's best and not widely seen performances, let me point you in the direction of Duets, a movie from 2000 that had her singing, dancing, and starring alongside Scott Speedman and Paul Giamatti.
Not that it needed defending, but these women topping the Forbes list are definitely deserving of those slots. Even their least well-known movies are their best.