Each year one moment from the Oscar nominations announcement earns unintentional buzz, most notably seen in past pronunciation snafus. But when the 2023 Oscar nominations were read by Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams, people were talking about one nominee’s provocative title itself—not the delivery of it.
“My Year of Dicks,” Ahmed said while announcing the nominees for best animated short film. He then chuckled, his break eliciting laughter from attendees in the pressroom. Giggles continued when Ahmed read the next nominee, the eccentrically titled An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It. After a brief pause, Williams capitalized on the moment, quipping, “No comment.”
The 25-minute short with the attention-grabbing title made first-time Oscar nominees out of director Sara Gunnarsdóttir, who became the first female Icelandic filmmaker to get an Academy Award nomination, and writer Pamela Ribon, who hails from Disney Animation with credits on Moana and Ralph Breaks the Internet. Dicks (insert Ahmed’s laughter here) is adapted from Ribon’s memoir, Notes to Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public), and inspired by her own experiences coming of age in the early ’90s.
Told in five chapters, set in genres ranging from vampire tale to horror film, the story centers on a 15-year-old girl named Pam who is hell-bent on losing her virginity over the course of a particularly phallic 365 days in small-town Texas. Ribon, who has called this project a “homegrown experience,” quotes her real-life letters and uses video recordings of her teen self; she even cast some of her own family members in the short.
Amidst commentary around the nominations’ biggest snubs and surprises, the official My Year of Dicks Twitter account shared the following message: “We are so grateful for the nomination from our animation community, and for this chance to share such a personal story of awkward, teenage wonder with a worldwide audience. Thank you, thank you.” In a follow-up tweet, the account shared video of the nominations announcement, writing, “If just announcing our title can get that level of giggles (Thanks, Riz and Allison!), we can’t wait to see what’ll happen when you watch the film.”
You can watch My Year of Dicks at this Vimeo link before the 2023 Oscars on Sunday, March 12.