Central Texas sheriff, wife, head to the Oscars

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Going to the Oscars is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it’s one Parnell McNamara and his wife Charlotte will get to have.

Parnell and Charlotte McNamara. (Photo by Matthew Ablon/file)

Although he’s not technically nominated, McLennan County’s sheriff inspired the movie “Hell or High Water” which is up for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

But in order to go, this quintessential Texas Sheriff has to trade in his Wranglers for a tuxedo.

"I gotta wear a tux, gotta wear my black boots, and my hat,” said Mr. McNamara.

His badge will also be donned, no doubt.

McNamara and his wife Charlotte got an invite, not for the role he played in the movie, but for the role he played in Texas law enforcement decades before the film ever existed.

"I'm just so proud of the things that he's done and the sacrifices that he's made for our community in his entire life, so this is just a little celebration of it all,” said his wife Charlotte McNamara.

A former U.S. Marshal, McNamara, along with his brother Mike, were muses for the screenplay written by their cousin, Taylor Sheridan, who saw how hard it was for them to be forced into retirement once they reached a certain age, even though they weren’t ready to leave the badge on the desk.

“It's such a cool feeling, it's a cool movie, just been a small part of it, and uh, been able to help with it, it's very humbling, it's also very overwhelming, still can't believe it,” said McNamara.

"The whole town is excited for us, all of our friends are, they want to get involved, they want to go shopping with us,” said his wife.

After Sheridan wrote the screenplay, McNamara got a call from the man playing the main character modeled after him, Jeff Bridges, who would ask him advice on how to look and talk like a Texas lawman, they’d even read lines together.

"I don't know that he needed a lot of my help but he acted like he did, made me feel good and I appreciated that,” McNamara said.

The two have developed a friendship which he hopes to continue at the Oscars. But Bridges isn’t the only actor McNamara is hoping to meet.

“Love Kurt Russell, Val Kilmer, Sam Elliott, oh my goodness, Tom Selleck. If they don’t have a mustache, they’re out!” McNamara joked.

The McNamaras didn’t know who they’d run into, but they were driving to the show in a limo with Sheridan, and possibly Bridges.

“It’s gonna be a wild ride,” said McNamara.

A ride with the stamp of Texas on it; Mrs. McNamara had the Lone Star State in mind when choosing her gown.

"We've got the red carpet, we've got his white shirt, and we've got the blue dress, so we've got the red white and blue,” she said. “This is the fun part of being the wife of the Sheriff, I can tell ya that.”

“I’m glad there’s some fun parts,” he responded.

The 89th Academy Awards are at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.