The nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced Tuesday morning in a presentation hosted by actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams. Although most things went as expected, there was one nomination that had the audience – a group of publicists and reporters who rose very early for this – giggling. When Ahmed listed the nominations for Best Animated Short Film, he had to read a distinctive title: My Year of Dicks. The short’s honor received some applause, followed by a beat-up in which everyone laughed at the middle school-grade humor, including the presenters. (It didn’t help much that the next nomination Ahmed had to read was for a short call An ostrich told me the world is fake and I think I believe it—this category definitely wins the award for Best Titles.) Before Williams went to present the next category, she popped in a quick and humorous “no comment,” setting the tone for the next round of nominations.
My Year of Dicks is a short film from the brain of Pamela Ribon (whose writing credits include Moana and Ralph breaks the internet), directed by artist and animator Sara Gunnarsdóttir. The short, based on Ribon’s own 2014 memoir Notes for Boys (and Other Things I Shouldn’t Share Publicly)tells the early-’90s coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old girl who’s desperate to lose her virginity, so decides to… take on her year of dicks.
My Year of Dicks is a great short, although it doesn’t tell the story of a particularly good year. This is a beautifully animated, partially rotoscoped view master roll of Animated Pam’s first sexual experiences: confusing, frustrating, charming, consensual, and not. (It has a bit of a Dazed and confused feel to it, in story atmosphere, if not in visual style.) In just 25 minutes, My Year of Dicks will make you cringe, feel deep discomfort to the extreme awwwwww and back again—a remarkable simulacra of the emotions of girlhood. The animation oscillates between mundane and psychedelic, filling in the gaps of all the things you couldn’t articulate, as a real teenager: how it feels to witness your crush at their most crush-worthy, or to realize you’re becoming forced in real time, or to fully learn what the word “unanswered” means. The title may be a joke, but the short is brutally honest, deserving of all the applause it received – and the giggles, also.