Girl On Fire – How Jennifer Lawrence Became The Most Powerful Actor In Hollywood

The Hunger Games film series may be finishing, with the last in the series hitting cinemas today (November 19), but Jennifer Lawrence’s greatness is assured. Nick Levine explains why the 25-year-old actor is now the most powerful player in Hollywood.

She earns more than any actor except Robert Downey Jr

From August 2014 to August 2015, Lawrence raked in a massive $52million – a total Downey Jr only beats because of his astonishingly lucrative ongoing Iron Man deal. Money counts in Hollywood, but Lawrence’s position is unique because she combines across-the-board marketability with widespread critical acclaim. In fact, she’s the only actor in Hollywood’s top ten earners to have won an Oscar (for 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook).

Franchise films haven’t affected her credibility

Lawrence has appeared in six franchise films in five years. Yet no casting director would dream of pigeonholing her. Her roles in smaller films – a widow learning to dance in Silver Linings Playbook, an unhinged ’70s housewife in American Hustle – have been just as memorable as her turns as Katniss in The Hunger Games and Mystique in X-Men.

She’s turning a story about a mop inventor into Oscar bait

January brings the UK release of Joy, Lawrence’s third film with director David O Russell. She stars as Joy Mangano, the woman who invented the Miracle Mop. With virtually any other actor in the lead role, this film would be a hard sell. But with Lawrence’s name above the title, it’s already being tipped as an Oscar contender. If she makes the shortlist, it will be a remarkable fourth Oscar nomination in six years.

She’s creating her own roles

This summer Lawrence announced that she is writing a comedy film with Trainwreck‘s Amy Schumer. It was Lawrence who made this collaboration happen. “I watched Trainwreck and I was like, ‘Yep, we’re made for each other,’ and then I reached out and everything just happened so quickly,” Lawrence explained on Entertainment Tonight.

She avoids social media without seeming aloof

This August, Schumer posted snaps from her holiday with Lawrence in the Hamptons. The pictures soon went viral, partly because they showed two huge stars having a blast together. But they also dominated our Facebook feeds because catching a glimpse of J-Law on social media is so rare. She’s managed to stay off Twitter and Instagram without seeming out-of-touch because during interviews she’s frank, funny and utterly down-to-earth.

She’s tearing down the Hollywood pay gap

Lawrence is using her clout to influence Hollywood’s ongoing discussion about the pay gap between male and female actors. In an essay for Lena Dunham’s Lenny newsletter, she expressed her dismay at discovering she’d
received a smaller cut of American Hustle‘s profits than her male co-stars and vowed to negotiate harder in future. “I’m over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way to state my opinion and still be likeable!” she wrote. “F**k that.” For her next film, space romance Passengers, she;s pocketing a reported $20million. That’s $8m more than her male co-star Chris Pratt, even though he fronted this year’s biggest film, Jurassic World. It just goes to show that in Hollywood in 2015, Jennifer Lawrence is in a class of her own.