An Australian film-maker will be a keen spectator at the US Super Bowl – but it will be the half-time break rather than the sport that will keep him on tenterhooks. It could make him US$1 million (A$1.1 million) richer.

Thomas Noakes's entry into the Doritos Crash the SuperBowl competition to make a commercial for the chip brand has put him firmly in the running for the cash prize, and has racked up nearly two million views on YouTube.

Noakes will not know until the chosen ad airs midway through the gridiron showpiece on February 2 whether he has won.

He has come up with a unique, if slightly off-putting, take on the Doritos side-effect: sticky orange fingers.

"It's silly, really. We just thought of a machine that cleans fingers," Noakes told Guardian Australia.

"Like magical machines, and Willy Wonka and all those references. But then I thought it would be funny if it wasn't so magical and it was just a mundane office worker on the other side."

That mundane office worker, played by Renzo Bellato, has the stomach-turning task of sucking clean the fingers that the character Billy, played by Sam Glissan, pokes through the wall.

There are no special effects, and no "stunt fingers", says Noakes. Also, it took 10 takes.

"On the 10th take, man, I couldn't see him, but Belinda [Dean], the producer, was standing there and on the 10th take she said Sam just dropped his head and shuddered, his face white," said Noakes.

"The guy is a dedicated actor. I'd struggle doing it. He struggled doing it. I cannot speak highly enough of the actors involved."

The Doritos competition opened up to international entrants for the first time, and Noakes said the team were "humbly grateful" to be contenders.

Noakes will attend the Super Bowl as a guest of Doritos along with the other finalists. They will see when the half-time ads are shown on the big screen whose entry made it.

"The screening audience of the Super Bowl is five times the actual population of Australia. It's bananas," said Noakes.

"The other entries are amazing. We're humbled and grateful to be among those other entries."

A 30-second ad spot in the half-time break of the NFL game can command about $4 million.