BEN AFFLECK - Argo
BRADLEY COOPER - Silver Linings Playbook
DANIEL DAY-LEWIS - Lincoln
HUGH JACKMAN - Les Misérables
JOAQUIN PHOENIX - The Master
There is a book called "Alternate Oscars" where the author makes (weak) cases for why someone else should have won the award. Why do I say weak? After Jill Clayburgh loses Best Actress for "An Unmarried Woman," you need some perspective. I can understand the giddy high of a new film. But after she loses, it is fair to point out that she is a strong actress but her performances are the same. So I lost all respect for the book (and author) when I saw him claiming Clayburgh should have won.
But if you want real "Alternate Oscars," look at the BAFTAs.
Nominees include people like Jean-Paul Belmondo, a classic French actor who was never nominated for an Academy Award. Dustin Hoffman wins in 1969, years before he wins an Oscar. John Cleese wins for "A Fish Called Wanda" and I'd go with that as well. Robert Downey Jr. wins for "Chaplin." In the US, we never give the Best Actor Oscar to a young actor.
The most awarded BAFTA Best Actor winner?
There are 3 actors who have won it three times: Jack Lemmon, Marlon Brando and Daniel Day Lewis. Of the three, only Daniel Day Lewis is still alive. He could make it to four this year (nominated for "Lincoln") and might even overtake Peter Finch some day. Another one to watch there would be Colin Firth who has won twice.
Here's some history on BAFTA from Wikipedia:
The British Film Academy was initiated during 1947 by directors Sir Alexander Korda, David Lean, Roger Manvell, Laurence Olivier, Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell, Carol Reed (later Sir Carol Reed), and other major people of the British movie industry. During 1958, the Academy merged with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors to form the Society of Film and Television Arts, which eventually became the British Academy of Film and Television Arts during 1976.
BAFTA is an independent charity with a mission to "support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image, by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public". In addition to high-profile awards ceremonies BAFTA manages a year-round programme of educational events including movie screenings, tribute evenings, interviews, lectures and debates with major industry people. BAFTA is funded by a membership of about 6500 people from the movie, television and video game industries. BAFTA's main headquarters is on Piccadilly in London, but it also has regional offices in Scotland, in Wales, in New York and in Los Angeles.
These four parts of the Academy operated initially with their own brands (BAFTA Scotland, BAFTA Cymru, BAFTA East Coast and BAFTA Los Angeles). During July 2010, all parts of the Academy were brought together as one fully affiliated BAFTA.
The Academy's awards are in the form of a theatrical mask designed by American sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe, which was commissioned by the Guild of Television Producers and Directors during 1955. It has since become an internationally-recognised symbol.
During November 2007 a special tribute programme was shown on ITV in the UK celebrating 60 years of the organisation named 'Happy Birthday BAFTA'.
The Academy has been associated with the British monarchy since Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh became the British Film Academy's first president during the 1940s. The Earl Mountbatten of Burma and The Princess Royal have since had this position, and during 2010 Prince William became the newest Academy president.
I don't know who has won the most BAFTAs but, from a variety of formats and categories, Judi Dench has won 11 times. (Six of those are for filmwork.) The BAFTA itself is a gold mask.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"