Allison Williams and Riz Ahmed did an admirable job of pronouncing names and film titles at Tuesday morning’s Academy Award nominations telecast, but there’s usually one moment in the annual list reading that gets people talking.
This year, that would be “My Year of Dicks,” the Sara Gunnarsdottir short that nabbed a best animated short nod from the film academy. Immediately after announcing the title, Ahmed giggled (most likely because the acclaimed actor had been up all night preparing for the event, which kicked off at 5:30 a.m. PT). It was a moment of levity reminiscent of the infamous 2014 gaffe when former Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs read best cinematography nominee Dick Pope’s name as “Dick Poop.”
But “My Year of Dicks” is supposed to make one cringe, as director Gunnarsdottir weaves a beautiful and dreamlike tale of a young girl on a mission to lose her virginity in the early ‘90s. Told in five chapters, the film is adapted from the memoir “Notes to Boys: And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public” by Pamela Ribon.
A fictionalized version of RIbon (the prolific film and TV writer) is the protagonist who chases a series of conquests — from an actual vampire to harrowing frat boys — in hopes of sexual awakening in a podunk town outside of Houston. Upon release, her uniquely etched characters drew comparison to those of “Superbad” and “Dazed and Confused.”
Shortverse critic Irina Wirjan wrote that the film “perfectly encapsulates the complex web that is adolescent yearning,” and praised its lush sense of sexual discovery and “the ugliness of what is often the reality.”
“Dicks” was reportedly made by Gunnarsdottir at the behest of FX development executive Megan Reid. Ribon adapted her own memoir for the screen, and produced the project with Gunnarsdottir and Jeanette Jeanenne. Let us all look forward to the A-lister who must read the film’s title on Oscar night, airing March 12 on ABC.
Watch “My Year of Dicks” at this Vimeo link.