One of the notable snubs on the Oscar shortlists was “Parasite’s” arresting score, but the music branch made it up by shortlisting the film in original song. Yes, “Parasite” has an original song. No, sadly, it’s not the “Jessica Jingle,” although it should be. The track, “A Glass of Soju,” was co-written by Bong Joon Ho, which means he could be nominated for a record-tying four Oscars for one film, joining a very small group, and just one year after Alfonso Cuaron did it himself.
Bong is already expected to receive bids for Best Picture as a producer on “Parasite,” Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, alongside co-writer Han Jin-won. (“Parasite” is a lock for Best International Feature Film, fka Best Foreign Language Film, but the award goes to the country, in this case South Korea, and the director accepts it on behalf of the country at the ceremony.)
“A Glass of Soju” plays over the end credits of “Parasite” and is performed by star Choi Woo Sik, who plays Ki-woo in the film. Bong wrote the lyrics and enlisted “Parasite” composer Jung Jae Il to write the music, which means Jung could still get an Oscar despite the score snub.
“As people were leaving the theater, I wanted them to hear Ki-woo’s voice at the end. So I asked the actor to sing the song and I wrote the lyrics myself,” Bong explained to “The Ringer” in October. The director’s initial goal was to craft an optimistic song, piggybacking off the final scene and Ki-woo’s ultimate dream, but the tune wound up taking a bittersweet tone, with lyrics describing Ki-woo carrying on with his life and ending his hard day’s work with a glass of soju, Korea’s top liquor.
“Eventually the lyrics were not so optimistic. I really wanted to relay the sense that he is continuing to just live his life and work and maybe after work he comes home to have a shot of soju,” Bong said. “Just that very simple sense that he’s living on with his life.”
On Tuesday, the “Parasite” Twitter account thanked the academy for shortlisting the song and shared the English lyrics, “so you can sing along at home while voting.” Hint, hint.
— Parasite (@ParasiteMovie) December 17, 2019
Bong would become the sixth person to receive four Oscar nominations for one film. Cuaron accomplished it last year with “Roma” (2018), getting bids for picture, director, original screenplay and cinematography; he won director and cinematography, becoming the first DP champ who had also directed the film for which he won. Cuaron also co-edited “Roma,” but the film was snubbed in the category.
Joel and Ethan Coen shared nominations in picture, director, adapted screenplay and editing for “No Country for Old Men” (2007), winning all but editing. The editing bid was under their editing alias Roderick Jaynes.
Alan Menken was nominated four times for “Beauty in the Beast” (1991), but his bids were only across two categories: one in score and three in song, for “Be Our Guest,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Belle.” He took home statuettes for score and “Beauty and the Beast.” The composer is the only one of this group whose four nominations weren’t in four different categories.
Warren Beatty nabbed four nominations twice, making him the only person to have achieved a double quad. He went 0-4 for “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), losing picture, director, actor and adapted screenplay. Three years later, he earned the same four nominations for “Reds” (1981), although in original screenplay instead of adapted, and won director.
A common misconception is that Orson Welles was also nominated four times in one year, for “Citizen Kane” (1941), but he in fact only received three officially, for director, actor and original screenplay, prevailing for his script. He also produced “Citizen Kane,” which was nominated for the top prize, but at the time, the Best Picture Oscar recognized the studio, not the individual producers; this changed at the 24th ceremony, held in 1952.
Currently, “A Glass of Soju” is in seventh place in our odds. “Into the Unknown” from “Frozen II” leads, followed by “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” from “Rocketman,” “Stand Up” from “Harriet,” “Spirit” from “The Lion King” and “Glasgow (No Place Like Home)” from “Wild Rose.”
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.