12. Robert De Niro -- ‘The King of Comedy’
"The King Of Comedy" was a box office flop in 1982 and is probably Scorsese’s least recognized work still today. That’s a shame because this black comedy intuitively predicted the era of Seacrest, famous housewives, and America’s single-minded pursuit of fame. De Niro plays Rupert Pupkin, a comic hack who splits his endless free time either in his mother’s basement conversing with cardboard cutouts of celebrities like Liza Minnelli or backstage among the throngs of autograph hounds badgering guests of late-night host, Jerry Langford (played by a magnificently droll, Jerry Lewis). Despite it lacking the arsenal, gore, and fiery personalities typical of a Scorsese film, “The King of Comedy” is nonetheless an unsettling picture in its mordant look at the cult of celebrity. De Niro’s portrayal of the nebbish, monomaniacal Pupkin is integral to the movie, setting an excruciating tone that makes “The King of Comedy” both hilarious and squirmingly uncomfortable.