Mel Gibson (search) can literally thank God — Forbes magazine has just named the hunky actor-turned-director the most powerful celebrity in the world because of "The Passion of the Christ."
"His controversial film helped Gibson get both tremendous buzz and a whopping $210 million," Forbes said in its annual list of the 100 most powerful figures in the entertainment world.
Forbes calculated its list by ranking the celebrities on both their salaries as well as the amount of media attention they garnered through TV and radio appearances, magazine covers, newspaper mentions, and hits on the Web over the past 12 months.
Oprah Winfrey (search) tied Gibson for first place in earnings — $210 million — but the Queen of Daytime Talk landed in the No. 3 spot on the power list just behind Tiger Woods.
While the famed golfer made $80 million, he had more name recognition than Oprah, Forbes determined.
After a two-year absence, Tom Cruise (search) reappeared at No. 4, thanks to a salary take of $45 million, his movie, "The Last Samurai," and a high-profile romance with Penelope Cruz. His ex-wife, Nicole Kidman (search), No. 16 last year, is conspicuously absent this time around.
The Rolling Stones can get some satisfaction from being the only rock band to make the Top 10. The Stones ranked No. 5, thanks to earnings of $51 million and the huge publicity splash from their world tour and "40 Licks" CD.
There's good news for David Letterman (search), who was No. 24 last year, but skyrocketed to No. 11 this year, thanks to a fat salary, a new baby and high ratings. He blew away Jay Leno, who only made it to No. 52.
Howard Stern came in at an impressive No. 23, but the shock jock is sure to be furious that Forbes has placed his nemesis Rush Limbaugh a few notches ahead at No. 20.
Former President Bill Clinton, now out hawking his memoir, ranked No. 51 on the power list with earnings of $6.3 million.
But incredibly, he was No. 1 in the number of TV and radio appearances, Web hits and print media mentions.
New York's own A-Rod did well, too. Alex Rodriguez, the red-hot Yankee star, scored at No. 32, just behind Robert De Niro.