‘Time’ Director Garrett Bradley And Her Team Celebrate Oscar Firsts – Contenders Film: The Nominees

Time’s Garrett Bradley has become the first African-American woman recognized with an Oscar nomination for directing a feature documentary.

“Being the first Black woman to be nominated in that category is…profound and not something that I take for granted,” Bradley said at Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees virtual awards-season event. “I don’t think of it as something that is solely for myself. We are part of a collective. We stand on the shoulders of many other Black women who’ve come before us and there will be many, many after, hopefully, as well.”

Bradley’s film, from Amazon Studios, tells the story of Fox Rich, a Louisiana woman who raised six sons while simultaneously fighting for the release of her incarcerated husband, a first-time offender who received a draconian sentence of 60 years in prison for armed robbery. The title Time plays on different levels, gesturing toward “doing time” behind bars and the slow passage of time when you’re desperate to be reunited with a loved one.

“As a filmmaker it was really important for myself, and Gabe Rhodes who cut the film, to think about how every frame in the film was going to speak to the very intimate relationship between all tenses of time—between the past, between the present, between the future and the role that love and unification plays within that,” Bradley observed. “But it also was very much making space for Fox and for the family themselves to offer their understanding and interpretation, their relationship to time in its most intimate way.”

When they began work on the film, Bradley and her fellow nominees, producers Lauren Domino and Kellen Quinn, had no way of knowing whether Fox’s husband would ever win his freedom.

“As a producer you’re shooting and you have to think of the possibility of this won’t happen, we have to end this production at some point and what if there is no happy ending?” Domino recalled thinking. “And through the process of making this film it really forced me to challenge myself not only as a producer but as a person to think positively. As a producer you always have to look out for pitfalls, what bad can happen, that you sort of lose sight sometimes to be like, ‘No, things can work out.’ ”

It’s the first Oscar nomination not only for Bradley, but for Domino and Quinn as well. The whole team plans to attend the Oscar ceremony at Union Station in downtown L.A.

“I’m approaching it with, yeah, excitement and a little bit of anxiety,” admitted Quinn. “I’ll also just be really looking forward to it marking a kind of shift in what’s possible for our society right now as we enter this emergence from the pandemic.”

Added Bradley, “I’ve never been to the Oscars before. I’ve only watched it on the TV. It’s going to be really exciting…And it’s not about the outcome. We all have gotten there and I think everyone is just going to be there to celebrate all the work that went into making these films and to supporting cinema.”

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