Throughout the ongoing Oscar conversation, most of the attention has focused on two titles: the musical “La La Land” and the gay coming-of-age drama “Moonlight.” Both were made for low to modest budgets and began as limited releases before riding a wave of critical acclaim to become best picture nominees.

Meanwhile, another indie hit has quietly strolled onto the Academy’s red carpet: David MacKenzie’s “Hell or High Water.”

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The crime drama set in windswept West Texas stars Chris Pine and Ben Foster as brothers who rob banks with an unusual and somewhat puzzling goal: to give the money back. A grizzled Texas Ranger (Jeff Bridges) and his American Indian-Mexican partner (Gil Birmingham) begin following the brothers from bank to bank, trying to guess their next move.

Written by Taylor Sheridan (whose script for “Sicario” won a Writers Guild Award last year), “Hell or High Water” received only a modest theatrical release, but drew rave reviews — not only for its terse dialogue and colorful characters but for its prescient themes of Red State economic woes, distrust of the government and out-in-the-open ethnic tension (the two Rangers trade many sharp but affectionate barbs).

Fans of the film hoped it might garner a screenwriting nomination — which it has — but it also earned nods for Bridges as supporting actor and for film editing. What’s more, “Hell or High Water” landed a slot among the nine best picture nominees, edging out Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” and Clint Eastwood’s “Sully,” among other high-profile dramas from 2016.

“A lot of people say, ‘It’s a good movie for these times,’ ” Bridges told Indiewire late last year. “Isn’t it always ‘these times’?”