Mel Gibson: George De Sota/Fashion Wire Daily/AP
Gary Susman
June 18, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Thanks to some heavenly help, Mel Gibson came out of nowhere to top Forbes magazine’s annual list of celebrity power players. The Celebrity 100 list, which ranks star power according to a formula that takes into account media mentions, Web hits on Google, and earnings, placed the ”Passion of the Christ” director at the top, thanks to the intense media interest surrounding the controversial film and its box office success, which Forbes estimates has put $210 million in Gibson’s pocket this year. (And that’s not counting the estimated $150 million he’s likely to earn after the DVD comes out in August, which will likely keep him high on next year’s list.) Not bad, considering that Gibson didn’t even make the list last year.

No. 2 on the list, which also includes athletes, chefs, models, and other famous folk, is Tiger Woods, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Tom Cruise, The Rolling Stones, J.K. Rowling, Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Steven Spielberg, and Johnny Depp. The ”Pirates of the Caribbean” star had never made the list before; other newcomers include a slew of reality stars, such as Jessica Simpson, Paris Hilton, the Fab Five from ”Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” and even William Hung. Others lost traction — Jennifer Aniston fell from No. 1 last year to No. 17 due to the ending of ”Friends” — and some big names fell off the list altogether, including Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Nia Vardalos, Reese Witherspoon, Will Smith, and the Osbournes. The full list is posted at Forbes’ website.

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