Garrett Bradley’s critically acclaimed documentary “Time” has been nominated for an Oscar.
A love story filmed over two decades, “Time” centers on matriarch Fox Rich who works hard to raise her six sons and keep her family together as she fights for her husband’s release from the Louisiana State Penitentiary, commonly known as Angola.
In 1997 she and her husband Robert Richardson were convicted of a bank robbery in Louisiana.
The couple first took a deal, pleading guilty in exchange for a sentence of 10 to 18 years for Robert Richardson and his nephew and probation for her. But Rich said the couple met an attorney who told them he could get a better deal if they hired him and withdrew their guilty pleas.
The attorney abandoned them when the couple could not afford to pay him any more money. They then reached out to two jurors the night before sentencing to try and appeal for mercy. The jurors told the judge the following day, and the couple was re-arrested.
Rich took a plea deal for two seven-year terms and one five-year term to run concurrently. She was sentenced to 13 years but was released after three and a half. Her husband was sentenced to 60 years in prison without the possibility of parole after his attorney refused to renegotiate the previous plea deal on his behalf.
“More than anything I think that the nomination is a testament to the power of love and to the story itself,” Bradley said via Deadline. “Nominations are at their best a sort of reflection of an expanded cultural consciousness. They reflect what matters to us as a society and I’m in solidarity with all of the issues that the other four beautiful films that I’ve been honored to be nominated—we’re in it together… I’m honored and grateful that Black love and Black joy but also the real issues behind incarceration are alongside that and are in the forefront.”
Richardson was granted clemency in 2018 after serving 21 years in prison but will remain on parole and under curfew for the next 40 years.
“My commitment to Fox and my family was greater than [my prison sentence]. And I had committed and made a vow before the altar that I would be married to her till death do us part,” he told WBUR in October. “And part of that is also making sure that nothing or no one would take us under, and that included the system of Louisiana’s criminal justice system. Dying in prison or not getting out of prison was never for either of us.”