4. Quentin Tarantino
Given the way QT the filmmaker re-invented crime drama in the 1990's with Reservoir Dogs (he played Mr. Brown) and Pulp Fiction (he played the memorably flustered Jimmie Dimmick), you would think the former video-store clerk had no more worlds to conquer. Then in 2003 came the girl-powered Kill Bill and its sequel a year later. He celebrated women again in the "Death Proof" segment of 2007's Grindhouse, casting himself as Rapist No. 1., and he was the first scalped victim in his 2009 groundbreaker, Inglourious Basterds. We eagerly await new Tarantino surprises at year's end when he unleashes Django Unchained, a western that takes on slavery.