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NM-made ‘Hell or High Water’ picks up 4 Oscar noms

From left, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in a scene from "Hell or High Water." (Courtesy of Lorey Sebastian)

From left, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham in a scene from “Hell or High Water.” (Courtesy of Lorey Sebastian)

“La La Land” may have picked up the most Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, but productions with New Mexico ties picked up some nice shout-outs – in some big categories.

“Hell or High Water,” which was filmed in New Mexico, picked up four nominations. Its biggest nomination came in the best picture category, where it will compete with eight other films. Jeff Bridges was also nominated in the actor in a supporting role category.

“Woke up this morning in beautiful Solana Beach, (Calif.) after playing a cool gig at the Belly Up with my band the Abiders to find out I’ve been nominated for my performance,” Bridges said in a statement. “What a thrill.”

The movie was also nominated for best original screenplay, penned by Taylor Sheridan, and for best film editing.

bright-spot-logo“Hell or High Water” opened in August and quickly became one of the most successful independent films of 2016.

It is a story about the collision of the Old and New West as two brothers – Toby, played by Chris Pine, a straight-living, divorced father trying to make a better life for his son; and Tanner, played by Ben Foster, a short-tempered ex-con with a loose trigger finger – come together to rob branch after branch of the bank that is foreclosing on their family land.

The holdups are part of a last-ditch scheme to take back a future that powerful forces beyond their control have stolen from them. Vengeance seems to be theirs until they find themselves in the cross hairs of relentless, foul-mouthed Texas Ranger Marcus Hamilton, played by Bridges, who is looking for one last triumph on the eve of his retirement.

Production for the film began in May 2015 and employed more than 100 New Mexico crew members and in excess of 850 background talent workers, according to the New Mexico Film Office.

Locations included Clovis, Estancia, Moriarty, Portales, Tucumcari and Albuquerque, though the film is set in West Texas.

Another New Mexico-filmed production picked up an Oscar nomination. Viggo Mortensen picked up the nomination for his role in “Captain Fantastic.” The production was filmed in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Mesilla.

“The nominated pictures were made in southern and eastern New Mexico communities,” said Nick Maniatis, director of the NM Film Office. “Those locations made those stories come alive and the communities did an amazing job supporting the crews while they worked.”

Another nomination with a New Mexico connection is Michael Shannon for actor in a supporting role for the film “Nocturnal Animals.” While the movie wasn’t filmed in New Mexico, it was directed by Santa Fe resident Tom Ford.

“I am thrilled,” Shannon said. “Loved making this film. I would work with Tom Ford anytime, anywhere. Jake Gyllenhaal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Karl Glusman made it easy for me. Nice to get some good news in the midst of all the carnage, so to speak.”

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