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The 'Buzkashi Boys' land in Hollywood

The two Afghan teens who starred in the short critically acclaimed film 'Buzkashi Boys' landed at LAX this week to attend the Oscars. It was a far cry from their home country, where one of the boys – Fawad – sold maps on the streets to help support his family. NBC's Kristen Dahlgren reports.

By Thanh Truong, Correspondent, NBC News

Fawad Mohammadi's tuxedo pants are a bit short.  'First world problems,' right?  Fawad would know.  The 14-year-old street urchin turned actor is from Kabul, Afghanistan.  Now, he's getting fitted for tuxedo for Oscar night.

"Fawad is like James Bond now, but I am like Al Pacino," said fellow teen Afghan actor Jawanmard Paiz.

Steven Louie/NBC News

Fawad Mohammadi tries on the tuxedo he will wear to the Oscars.

It's been a whirlwind ride.  Fawad and Jawanmard flew more than 7,500 miles and touched down at LAX a few days ago.  Obscure no more, they were instantly surrounded by cameras and microphones.  

"I am so happy, so excited to be here. This movie is about the strength of Afghans, the Afghans people don't see," said Fawad.

The kids from Kabul are part of the short film "Buzkashi Boys," which is nominated for best live action short.  The Afghan-produced movie follows two poor kids dreaming of a better life.  A storyline Fawad literally lives.

Steven Louie/NBC News

"It is like a dream, the Oscars.  I can say I thought I would go somewhere some day, but not the Oscars, not Hollywood," said Fawad.  

The boys' tour of Tinseltown brought them to Universal Studios Hollywood.  Their first encounters with King Kong, Jaws and Transformers was a world apart from the reality of Afghanistan. But with his 3-D glasses on, Fawad seemed like any other teenager, laughing and enjoying the spectacle of movie magic. He didn't have to worry about selling enough maps or souvenirs to help support his mother and his other siblings.  

Steven Louie/NBC News

Afghan teen actors Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz stand before the Transformers ride at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

"I like the weather here, the traffic, too, so many cars," he said.  

There's very little pretense with Fawad.  He calls it as he sees it.  His charm, along with some brilliant green eyes, caught the attention of American film director Sam French.  The two have built a tight relationship through their work on the film.

Steven Louie/NBC News

"I mean the film is about him.  His character, taking one small step into adulthood, and now he's doing that in real life.  So it's just going to be amazing to see him be here and be at the Oscars," said French.

Fawad Mohammadi, the 14-year-old star of a short Afghan film, has been propelled into the Oscar spotlight. The script parallels his own life. NBC's Thanh Truong reports.