You may not be aware, but one of 2016’s best reviewed pictures came out in limited release this weekend with Hell or High Water. The modern day Western/heist thriller debuted at the Cannes Film Festival a few months back to positive buzz and further critical reaction has solidified its reputation. Directed by David Mackenzie and starring Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, and Ben Foster, it stands at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Hell’s biggest hurdle could be breaking out with audiences and being widely known enough to garner attention from Oscar voters. It’s probably on the outside looking in, but if its admirers and CBS Films mount a campaign, who knows? I would say its best shot at Academy attention won’t be the film, director, or performers – but screenwriter Taylor Sheridan in Original Screenplay. This is his second acclaimed script in as many years as he penned 2015’s Sicario.
Bottom line: Hell or High Water has an uphill climb for nominations, but it’s got better than a snowball’s chance.