“A-list” actors are exceptionally successful, their notoriety extends beyond the silver screen, and their name guarantees a box office hit. Some “A-list” actors include: Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, and Johnny Depp. The “A-list” actors are usually made up of male actors as with more high earning positions.
“B-list” actors are usually television actors or less successful movie stars. Some “B-list” actors include: Nicholas Cage, Katherine Heigl, David Morse, Samantha Morton, and Pierce Brosnan. “B-list” actors usually never headline a film by themselves; this means the supporting actors are usually fairly notable too.
A “C-list” actor is a character actor that’s known by face and not by name. They are usually still good actors, but they receive less notoriety than an A or B-list actor.
“D-list” actors are the lowest on the celebrity hierarchy; they appear on celebrity game shows and reality television.
Celebrity refers to popular fame and public attention in the media, usually applied to a person, or group of people (celebrity couple, family etc.), or occasionally, to animals or fictional entities. Celebrity status is often associated with wealth (commonly referred to as fame and fortune) and fame can often provide opportunities to make money.
Successful careers in sports and entertainment are commonly associated with celebrity status. People may also become celebrities due to media attention for their lifestyle, wealth, or actions, or for their connection to a famous person.
A-list is a term that alludes to major movie stars, or the most bankable in the Hollywood film industry or to major recording artists, major international sports stars or miscellaneous occupations such as the most successful film directors, certain high profile media and entertainment moguls and the most notable international TV broadcasters.
The A-list is part of a larger guide called The Hot List that has become an industry-standard guide in Hollywood. James Ulmer has also developed a Hot List of directors.
The Ulmer scale categorizes the lists into A+, A, B+, B, C, and D listings.