Olivia Colman: Actress Claims, “I’d be Paid More if I was Oliver”

Oscar-winning British actress Olivia Colman has expressed her belief that her compensation for film roles would be significantly higher if she were male.

“I’m fully cognizant that if I were Oliver Colman, my earnings would be significantly higher than they currently are,” she expressed to CNN.

“I’m aware of a significant pay disparity that stood out due to its substantial difference.” Do the calculations.

The topic of equal pay in Hollywood gained attention ten years ago, however, the most recent top 10 list of highest-earning actors features only two women.

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Colman highlighted the research indicating that women have consistently been popular at the box office.

“I can’t help but express my frustration with the pay disparity issue. It’s disheartening to see male actors being paid more, with the justification that they draw in larger audiences.” And in fact, that hasn’t been true for decades.

“However, some individuals continue to use this as an excuse for paying women less than their male colleagues, especially in our industry.”

Colman became a prominent figure in the entertainment industry in 2019 after receiving critical acclaim for her portrayal of Queen Anne in The Favourite. Her exceptional performance earned her an Oscar for Best Actress, solidifying her position among the Hollywood elite. Since then, she has continued to impress with two more nominations.

She has made an appearance in the Wonka film and is set to star in the upcoming Paddington In Peru.

She has appeared in TV shows such as Heartstopper and Secret Invasion, and portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in seasons three and four of Netflix’s The Crown.

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There was a lot of public outrage when it came to light that Colman’s predecessor as the monarch, Claire Foy, received a lower salary compared to her on-screen Duke of Edinburgh, Matt Smith. Producers assured Colman and co-star Tobias Menzies that it would not be the case.

The issue of pay disparity in Hollywood gained significant attention following a cyber attack in 2014 on Sony executives’ emails. The leaked emails exposed the fact that Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams received lower salaries compared to their male counterparts for their roles in American Hustle.


Lawrence later expressed her hesitation to advocate for more during negotiations, as she was concerned about being perceived as “difficult” or “spoiled”.

“Initially, it appeared to be a reasonable decision, until I stumbled upon the payroll online and discovered that none of my colleagues seemed to have any concerns about being demanding or entitled.”

The focus on the treatment of women in Hollywood remained prominent as the #MeToo movement gained momentum.

When Kevin Spacey was removed from the film All the Money in the World due to allegations against him, another controversy arose when it came to light that actor Mark Wahlberg was compensated $1.5m for reshoots, while co-star Michelle Williams only received $80 a day for expenses.

Colman’s remarks imply that the disparity in pay between genders remains a persistent concern.

In February, a study revealed that the representation of women or girls in lead roles in the top-grossing movies of 2023 had decreased to only 30 out of 100. This marked a decline from the previous year’s count of 44 and was the lowest figure in nearly ten years.

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In the most recent annual list of the highest-earning actors published by Forbes magazine, Margot Robbie and Jennifer Aniston emerged as the only women in the top 10.

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