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7. 'Django Unchained' (2012)

As the sneering, charismatic slave-owner Calvin Candie, DiCaprio is the dirty, demented heart of Quentin Tarantino's controversial Western-exploitation-revenge flick. What's most remarkable about this performance is the weird affability the actor brings to this pathetic, delusional monster. This is a man who breeds and forces his slaves to fight each other, who has a weird fascination with France, and who is, at heart, a murderous psychotic. But he's also so charismatic that – spoiler alert — once he's dispatched from the narrative, the air goes out of the film. It's a career highlight; he deserved an Oscar for this one, frankly.