HOLLYWOOD, California -- Call it the battle of the blockbusters!
The first superhero movie ever nominated for best picture, 'Black Panther', with more than $1 billion in earnings, goes up against 'Bohemian Rhapsody', with a total past $800 million, and 'A Star is Born', which has $400 million in the till.
But a couple of smaller films, 'Roma' and 'Green Book', earned the most Oscar nominations. They are leading contenders in the top categories.
I predict Mahershela Ali will win his second Oscar, for a supporting role as a pianist traveling through the Deep South.
The title refers to the guide book that helped African-Americans cope with the harsh racism in the region in the mid-20th century.
In the same time period in our city, Regina King is my pick to prevail, as a mom trying to help her son get out of prison in "If Beale Street Could Talk".
Among female performers in a lead role, Glenn Close is destined to win as 'The Wife', playing a woman crucial to her husband's success, but always in his shadow.
Close has cleaned up at previous awards shows. This is her 7th Oscar nomination without a win. Her losing streak ends tonight.
Rami Malek has captured the imagination of voters this season as the late Freddie Mercury and he is going to take home the trophy as best lead actor for playing the lead singer of Queen.
But his performance drew more praise than the film, and the competition for best picture comes down to two films.
One man's memoir of his boyhood in Mexico City and the maid he adored could be the first picture made by a streaming service called best, and Netflix has spent much more than the cost of 'Roma' to try and make that happen.
But I give the slight edge to 'Green Book', which I believe will win Oscar's top prize.
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