Sure there are a few, talented and likable folks like Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone, but THR points out that these younger women aren't nearly as popular as those twenty-plus years older than them:
Bullock, Julia Roberts, 45, and Streep are the three film actresses with the highest Q scores, with Bullock scoring 89 percent in recognition and a 41 Q score. By contrast, though their scores are higher among younger respondents, among all adults over 18, newly minted Oscar winners Anne Hathaway and Jennifer Lawrence rate Q scores of 20 and 15, respectively, while Twilight's Kristen Stewart checks in at just 10.
The best explanation for this is that the Baby Boomers are getting older and they're the ones most likely to go see movies in the theater. So as they get older, their taste in actors gets older with them. Thus they might like Silver Linings Playbook, but that nice girl who won the award doesn't register in the same way that tried-and-true Sandra Bullock does in The Blind Side. For younger people, obviously that nice girl is Katniss Everdeen, savior of Hogwarts or whatever. But most of those kids aren't going to go see a Jennifer Lawrence movie just because she's Jennifer Lawrence. That's not really how they consume things, it doesn't seem. (Remember all the craziness about Taylor Lautner in Twilight? And then remember how all those crazy, obsessive fans stayed home en masse for his big solo effort Abduction, essentially killing his nascent movie career?) It's possible that these younger actresses will become bigger, more traditionally "bankable" stars once they and their fans get a little older, but it's also possible that the "traditional" star is an irretrievable thing of the past.
The New York Times is suggesting just that today, noting how women's magazines are featuring fewer and fewer movie actresses on their covers, in lieu of musicians and television stars. Magazines like Cosmopolitan and Glamour used to rely on big splashy movie star issues to move copies at newstands, but now it's all reality heroes like Lauren Conrad and the Kardashians, or TV/music crossover acts like Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. The rise of quality, obsession-stoking television, also heavily referenced in THR's article, has shifted attention to the stars of that medium, frequently accessible and intimate as they are. An Entertainment Weekly editor tells the Times that TV stars are more likely to interact with their fans on things like Twitter, sending out links to their magazine covers and thus moving more copies. So there's that element to the shift.
But also, as new Cosmo editor Joanna Coles tells the Times, "There are a lot of movies right now that don’t speak to women." Indeed, the Times points to a study that found that only 28 percent of the speaking roles in "the nation's top movies" in 2012 were women. That's pretty darn low! Now, you'd think that that would mean that the scarcity of roles would create a few bright, burning megastars, but that hasn't really happened. It might, Jennifer Lawrence perhaps being the strongest candidate, but the kind of movies that make people Julia Roberts-level movie stars don't seem to come around as often as they used to. Jennifer Lawrence's Pretty Woman or Emma Stone's While You Were Sleeping might be just around the corner, but it seems more likely that they'll continue to feature in huge franchises that are way bigger than their stars, Hunger Games and Spider-Man respectively. Those movies certainly get their names out there, but don' quite engender the same fervor as, say, Top Gun did for Tom Cruise. Maybe nothing will, maybe as the Internet shines a harsh light on the once faraway mystery and allure of Hollywood, we just won't revere movie stars as highly as we once did.