The Most Overpaid Actor in Hollywood? Eddie Murphy

The star earned the dubious honor on Forbes' annual list

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Eddie Murphy, winner of Best Actor in a Supporting Role, poses at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, Jan. 28, 2007, in Los Angeles.

Earning a spot on a magazine’s annual year-end top-10 list can be great news for an actor—like the two French stars who topped TIME’s list of the year’s best movie performances—but it can be a dubious honor. The latter is the case when the list in question is Forbes‘ run-down of the most overpaid actors in the business. This year, comedy veteran Eddie Murphy took home the title. The list compares actors’ earnings to the budgets and grosses of the last three major movies in which they appeared; the list narrowed down those movies to only releases in the last three years, eliminating actors who are less overpaid than they are underemployed. Based on those calculations, Forbes figures that Murphy’s last three performances only made producers $2.30 for every dollar they paid him.

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The most overpaid actress, at number two, is Katherine Heigl, star of one of TIME’s worst movies of the year honorees, One for the Money, which raked in less than $37 million but cost $40 million to make.

Looking at the list as a whole, a pattern is clear. Out of the top ten, eight—or seven and a half, depending on which part of the Reese Witherspoon oeuvre you look at—of the honorees are best known for their comedic chops. Sandra Bullock, Jack Black, Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller and Sarah Jessica Parker all made the list. The only actors on the list who are best known for their dramatic work are Nicolas Cage and Denzel Washington. Clearly, the money wasted on funny people is no laughing matter.

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