Hollywood's highest-paid actress is… Kristen Stewart?!

*monocle falls to the floor*

That’s right, Kristen Stewart is Hollywood’s highest-paid actress. To get their result, Forbes compiled their best estimates of upfront pay, profit participation, residuals, endorsements and advertising work, without deducting for agents fees, manager fees (which actually does seem like an important factor not to include), or vajazzling. Between May 2011 and May 2012, Kristen Stewart earned $34.5 million, edging out last year’s number ones (it was a tie), Angelina Jolie and Sarah Jessica Parker. No, Kristen Stewart isn’t a very good actress (something I’ve already covered in great detail), but then, she’s still a lot better than Taylor Lautner. And look on the bright side: at least Katherine Heigl didn’t make the list this year.

1. Kristen Stewart, $34.5 million
2. Cameron Diaz, $34 million
3. Sandra Bullock, $25 million
4. Angelina Jolie, $20 million
5. Charlize Theron, $18 million
6. Julia Roberts, $16 million
7. Sarah Jessica Parker, $15 million
8. Meryl Streep, $12 million
9. Kristen Wiig, $12 million
10. Jennifer Aniston, $11 million

Studios are notoriously stingy when it comes to paying young actors for the first film in a planned franchise. Forget about the $10 million they would have had to shell out to get a big name — an up-and-comer is lucky to get $800,000.

That changes dramatically when it comes to the third and fourth films in a series. Suddenly, the star becomes indispensable and the studio has to pay up.

At this point, could anyone else play Bella Swan in Twilight? Probably not; if the studio tried to switch in another actress, fans would revolt. So for the last two Twilight films, Stewart has been able to demand an estimated $12.5 million per film, plus a share of the profits.

Forbes does a good job explaining how Kristen Stewart was able to earn what she has, the franchise aspect makes sense. Plus, she had Snow White & the Huntsman, and she was already fairly established by the time Twilight came around (Into the Wild, Panic Room, Fierce People). Not that it doesn’t still seem like a bad joke that Kristen Stewart is 16 years younger than anyone else on the list (second youngest: Kristen Wiig, at 38) and earned almost three times as much as Meryl f*cking Streep. Then again, if Meryl Streep getting a salary commensurate with her acting talent means I have to sit through The Iron Lady and the Sorcerer’s Stone Part Two, perhaps it’s better this way. The Iron Lady and the Half-Blood Prince is probably a lot more feasible anyway.

[check out Forbes to see the breakdown of how everyone earned what]