Jawanmard Paiz, Fawad Mohammadi and Sam French 

Remarkably, two of the five Oscar-nominated live-action shorts star young, untrained actors from across the globe. In my Vote column for Variety today, I tell the story of “Asad” and “Buzkashi Boys.”

Super Bowl Sunday usually caps a big weekend for Bryan Buckley, who’s directed more than 40 ads for the broadcast. But right now, the director’s focus is on a project set about as far away from the Superdome as imaginable.

Buckley is preoccupied with his Oscar-nominated short “Asad” and ongoing efforts not only to support the education of its two school-aged Somali refugee stars, Harun and Ali Mohammed — but also bring them to the Oscars.

“It certainly would be a powerful moment,” Buckley told Variety.

Buckley, who’s poised to direct Reese Witherspoon in “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” finds himself in a situation similar to that of helmer Sam French of Afghanistan-set, Oscar-nominated short “Buzkashi Boys,” whose young leads Fawad Mohammadi and Jawanmard Paiz are trying to make their way from Kabul to Hollywood on Feb. 24.

“Obviously, getting this honor from the Academy is unexpected and absolutely thrilling,” French said. “From our perspective, we can only hope it will shed a light on the other side of the country.” …

Read the entire column here.  And to learn more about the fundraising efforts for the “Buzkashi Boys” kids, click here