The nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, in a presentation hosted by actors Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams. Though most things went as expected, there was one nomination that left the audience—a group of publicists and reporters that got up very early for this—in giggles. When Ahmed listed the nominations for Best Animated Short Film, he had to read a distinctive title: My Year of Dicks. The short film’s honor received some applause, followed by a beat in which everyone laughed at the middle school–grade humor, including the presenters. (It didn’t help much that the following nomination Ahmed had to read was for a short called 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 squeezed in a quick and humorous “no comment,” resetting 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 to Boys (and Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public), chronicles the early-’90s coming-of-age story of a 15-year-old girl who is dead set on losing her virginity, and so decides to embark upon … her year of dicks.
My Year of Dicks is a great short, though it doesn’t tell the story of a particularly great year. It’s a beautifully animated, partially rotoscoped viewmaster reel of Animated Pam’s first sexual experiences: confusing, frustrating, charming, consensual, and not. (It’s got a bit of a Dazed and Confused feel to it, in story vibe, if not in visual style.) In just 25 minutes, My Year of Dicks will have you squirming, feeling deep discomfort to 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 an actual teen: what it feels like to witness your crush at their most crush-worthy, or to realize you’re being coerced in real time, or to learn, fully, what the word “unrequited” means. The title may be a joke, but the short is brutally honest, deserving of all the applause it received—and the giggles, too.