The actress grabbed the No. 1 spot from the talk show queen on the magazine's annual Celebrity 100 list, which ranks the rich and famous based on media exposure and career earnings over the past year.
Jolie, a reigning tabloid fixture, earned $27 million, bumping her up from third place on last year's list, Forbes said, adding that she wields more power due to high-profile turns in hit films such as "Wanted" and "Kung Fu Panda."
At No. 2, Winfrey is still the highest earner -- $275 million.
Matthew Miller, a senior editor of told Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen Thursday on the show that Angelina Jolie beat out Oprah because of the "fame factor."
"Angelina Jolie is far more famous than Oprah Winfrey on a daily basis. You're always hearing about her in the press, you're seeing her on magazine covers. She has a fame factor of 20 to 1 versus Oprah," Miller said. "And so she becomes much more powerful."
Miller said, to Forbes, money plus fame equals power. He explained the ranking is based on entertainment earnings, the fame element, and how often a figure is in the press.
Madonna came in third. Miller said she ranked high because of her tour, which grossed the highest earnings last year, and for her rumored affair with Alex Rodriguez that has kept her ever-present in the tabloids.
Beyonce came in next. Featured on the cover, Miller said she's milking her fame for all it's worth. He said she's singing, dancing, doing tours and endorsements, and even producing a fashion line.
"The business of celebrity is get famous," he told Chen, "and milk it as much as you can before you stop being famous."
Tiger Woods, Bruce Springsteen and Steven Spielberg come in next on the Forbes list.
Two other celebs tied up in Jolie's tabloid universe -- Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt -- came in at eighth and ninth place, respectively.
Tenth place goes to Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, thanks in part to endorsement deals scored after the Beijing Olympics.
About halfway down the list sits a very familiar face: President Barack Obama. At No. 49, Obama's the first sitting head of state to appear on this Forbes fixture because of his worldwide fame, his historic election and his career as a best-selling author.
Newcomers to the list: Alec Baldwin (No. 91); Meryl Streep (No. 64); Toby Keith (No. 59); Rascal Flatts (No. 42); and teen singing superstar Taylor Swift (No. 69).
Although he's one of the biggest acts in entertainment, Justin Timberlake went from 12th to falling off the list completely, since ending his lucrative "FutureSex/LoveShow" concert tour.
Jennifer Lopez, Johnny Depp and Tyra Banks also dropped off the list.
Miller also talked about the return of the "Infamy Index," which featured Alex Rodriguez at the top for his ongoing media attention for steroid abuse, a rumored affair with Madonna, and divorce.
To see the Forbes article with the complete list and details on the selections, click here.