Circuit Consideration: Park So-dam for ‘Parasite’ (Best Supporting Actress)

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Welcome to the 2019 CIRCUIT CONSIDERATIONS series. Highlighting the very best in film, acting, and technical achievements for the past 12 months that awards voters may need help remembering. Each day a different writer will make their plea for a specific film in a respective category. If you miss one, click the tag “Circuit Considerations 2019,” and if you have some suggestions, include them in the comments below!

The “Jessica Jingle” scene from “Parasite” is arguably its most famous moment. It’s become such a pop culture mainstay that people can use it as a ringtone. Actress Park So-dam is vital to that scene’s impact and to the overall picture. As Ki-jeong, the calculating daughter of the Kim household, Park is a masterful scene stealer.

Once the Kims decides to scam the wealthy Parks, Ki-jeong is pretty game. She willingly poses as a college student named Jessica who tutors the family son. In addition, her slight glee over this scheme is shown in the aforementioned “Jessica Jingle” moment. Both she and her brother, Ki-woo (Choi Woo-shik) are on the doorstep of the Park household. As they start sing-talking, it summarizes their eagerness to dupe the unsuspecting clan.

Park wonderfully showcases Ki-jeong’s arc from cunning schemer to apprehensive skeptic. Through the use of sly bodily gestures, it’s as if Ki-jeong becomes two different people once she has a sudden change of heart over their plans. Park’s juggling act is also in sync with the picture’s blend of dark humor and desolation.

Her performance has plenty of carefulness to it as well. When she’s acting as “Jessica,” Ki-jeong remains detached to ensure she doesn’t let her guard down. Although Ki-jeong plays the part, she doesn’t want to show any exaggerated buoyancy to seem fake. A similar kind of overstated behavior shown by Cho Yeo-jeong who plays Yeon-gyo, the mother of the Park household. Yeon-gyo is quite welcoming, yet her exaggerated naivete is enough to make one wonder if she’s playing a part herself.

Park’s ability to compliment her fellow actress’s performance is the hallmark of a genuine ensemble portrayal. One where the actor holds one’s attention while allowing their co-stars to similarly stand out. It’s a performance that can easily be taken for granted since there isn’t a big Oscar moment for Park to dominate the screen. Her ability to create a character through keenness still proves to be trickier than the use of histrionics.

Out of all the “Parasite” actors, Song Kang-ho is the best shot at acting representation. In fact, he’s currently ranked fifth on our Best Supporting Actor predictions. It’s understandable due to his veteran status and stature as a performer in South Korea. Yet, as worthy as he is, Park So-dam deserves the same praise for being the picture’s secret weapon.

Do you agree that Park So-dam deserves Supporting Actress consideration? Please share your thoughts!