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Oscars 2013: After amazing journey, young Afghani stars to appear on red carpet

February 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Walking the red carpet in Beverly Hills is a dream come true for Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmardi Piaz.

They are the stars of the Oscar-nominated film, "Buzkashi Boys," about Afghanistan's national sport, made by American filmmaker Sam French and showing an international audience a glimpse into their homeland.

"I think that they might be surprised that a film from Afghanistan has been nominated for an Oscar," said Mohammadi.

It's a far cry from their life on the streets of Kabul, where 14-year-old Mohammadi has hustled used magazines to support his family since his father died, and 15-year-old Piaz's brother was killed by the Taliban.

"I am very excited that I am with the biggest stars on the red carpet," Piaz said.

After an online fundraising effort brought in more than $10,000 for the boys' trip, Turkish Airlines stepped in and gave them movie star treatment, paying for the trip so the money raised could be set aside for Mohammadi's college fund.

"It shows people's feelings for us, and thanks from them to help us to come to the Oscars, to America, and we are very happy," said Piaz.

Though it's a fairytale arrival here in Hollywood, there are more challenges waiting back home for the boys, where they have been threatened by the Taliban.

"There is Taliban walking at night and they might kill you," Mohammadi said.

But here and now, it's a moment of glory no one can take away, and a chance to meet their heroes.

"My favorite stars are Al Pacino, Brad Pitt, Nicholas Cage and Tom Cruise. I love them. And also, Robert De Niro," Piaz said.

The online donations poured in from all over the world, including here in Hollywood from stars like Leeza Gibbons and Adrian Grenier. The State Department will fly the boys to Washington, D.C., for a couple of film screenings. It's definitely a dream come true for the best friends, both on-screen and off.

With Oscar Sunday just days away, play the My Picks game to choose who you think will win in each award category.

The My Picks experience will live on Oscar.com, the Oscars App, Facebook, ABCNews.com, OTRC.com and GMA.Yahoo.com. Play My Picks right now!

Have a smart phone or tablet? Download the free official Oscars app to get news and updates about the show. It's available for Apple, Android and Kindle devices.

Get the full list of 2013 Oscar nominees

The Oscars will air live on ABC7 on Feb. 24.

Oscar Sunday lineup:

  • 1:30 p.m.: On The Red Carpet at The Oscars
  • 4 p.m.: The Oscars Red Carpet Live
  • 5:30 p.m.: The Oscars
  • 8:30 p.m.: On The Red Carpet at The Oscars
  • 10 p.m.: Jimmy Kimmel Live
  • 11 p.m.: Eyewitness News


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