When Fawad Mohammadi attends the Oscars ceremony next week, he may be the only guest who until recently had never heard of showbusiness's biggest party.
The 14-year-old was working the streets for a living at an age when most of the stars he will meet were vying for roles in nativity plays.
Living in one of the shanty suburbs of the sprawling Afghan capital Kabul, he was too poor to go to school, and at seven joined a gaggle of urchins hawking maps and chewing gum to foreigners.
Film stardom seemed an unlikely prospect for the skinny street boy, as he used his piercing grey-green eyes and ready smile to part dollars from soft-hearted visitors.
Yet, seven years on, Fawad is preparing to leave the mud-spattered streets of wintery Kabul for the red carpet of Los Angeles as one of the two lead actors in a short film contending for Oscar success.
The teenager will leave Afghanistan for the first time on Tuesday and take his first plane trip as he and his co-star, Jawanmard Paiz, head to Hollywood.
The film which has taken Fawad's life in such an unexpected direction is a 28-minute coming-of-age tale called Buzkashi Boys, made by an American and Canadian who are based in Afghanistan.
In the movie, Fawad and Jawanmard, also 14, play friends who are desperate to emulate the heroic riders they worship who play buzkashi, a tough Afghan sport which is like a violent version of polo where horsemen tussle over the carcass of a goat in a chaotic melee. The success of the film, nominated against four competitors in the Best Live Action Short Film category, means Fawad will soon be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Denzel Washington, Naomi Watts and Anne Hathaway.
More than 7,000 miles away from Hollywood, he was unsure last week what to expect at the Oscars.
"I have never watched it on television; I have only seen some photos," he said.
The two boys have been measured for suits for their big night, and as part of their two-week trip to America they will also visit Washington DC and have been promised a visit to Disneyland.
Seven years ago, such a trip would have seemed as unlikely as a journey to the moon. Fawad's father struggled to support six sons and one daughter while earning only around €1.70 a day as a building labourer. Sending children to school, rather than to work, is often an unaffordable luxury for families such as theirs, and so at seven Fawad decided to see what he could earn in Chicken Street.
The street, lined with trinket shops and carpet showrooms, has attracted the city's foreign visitors since the Sixties and is home to a ragtag army of child beggars and hustlers. Fawad's speciality was peddling tourist maps.
"Sometimes the foreigners were very generous, but sometimes I made nothing," he said.
His situation became more difficult when his father died, leaving him and his brothers to support the family alone. Yet even at this time he said he felt he was destined for something more. "I thought I would be famous, but not like this. I thought maybe I would be a doctor or an engineer."
A foreign woman began paying for him to have an education at a private school in Kabul several years ago, but he still spent much of his time hanging out at Chicken Street.
It was a meeting with the director Sam French and producer Ariel Nasr that led to his brush with fame.
Mr French was another of the foreigners in Kabul who had fond memories of the smiling map salesman in Chicken Street.
When he began to develop the plot of a film about buzkashi-mad boys, it was Fawad who came to mind.
Fawad was chosen to star in a brief trailer to raise funds and when that was successful, he got the part of Rafi: a blacksmith's son whose father wants him to forsake his dreams of buzkashi to take over the family forge.
Fawad is not sure what he will do when he returns from Hollywood.
"I would like to make more films if someone would like to put me in them. But what I have wanted to do for a long time is to be a pilot," he said.