ISLAMABAD                   -              Hollywood’s awards season comes to a close Sunday at the Oscars, with war epic “1917” battling a South Korean thriller for glory as a row swirls over the lack of minorities on the night’s star-studded nominee list.

A lavish, spiral stage featuring 40,000 crystals at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre will be the glittering setting as the 24 golden statuettes are handed out on Tinseltown’s biggest night. The frontrunner for multiple prizes including best picture is Sam Mendes’s “1917,” an innovative and personal World War I film that swept up trophies in the build-up to Sunday.

But the movie about two soldiers crossing no-man’s-land -- filmed to appear like one continuous shot -- could find itself in a pitched battle with a movie determined to make history of its own.

“Parasite,” about a poor South Korean family infiltrating a wealthy household, looks to be a shoo-in for best international feature -- but could win much more.

“The big top prizes are coming down between ‘Parasite’ and ‘1917’,” Variety senior film editor Marc Malkin told a news agency. “Either one winning would be pretty great.”

The unique ballot system for best picture -- which involves voters ranking films -- makes the race somewhat tough to predict.

But it could benefit “Parasite,” a film that appears impossible to dislike, and whose charismatic director Bong Joon-ho, 50, has gained cult status at Hollywood’s many awards season galas and soirees.

“Every other movie, people say ‘I liked it, but...’” said Malkin. “With ‘Parasite,’ it’s ‘I love Parasite.’ Period. The end.” He added: “Bong’s enthusiasm and his joy are completely infectious.” Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood” remains an outside shot, while Martin Scorsese’s lavish crime epic “The Irishman” appears to have slipped out of contention.