The 44-year-old had been widely expected to land a nod in the category when the Academy Award nominations were announced. Instead, he was passed over for Spike Lee, Pawel Pawlikowski, Yorgos Lanthimos, Alfonso Cuaron and Adam McKay. And despite Bradley being nominated for best actor, best picture and best adapted screenplay, alongside Eric Roth and Will Fetters, for the film, it was the best director snub that really stung.
"I was embarrassed," he said to Oprah Winfrey as part of her "Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations" from Times Square on Tuesday, February 05. "I was at a coffee shop in New York City and looked down at my phone and Nicole (Caruso, Bradley's publicist) has told me congratulations and said what we had been nominated for. They didn't even give me the bad news... I was embarrassed because I felt I hadn't done my job."
Elsewhere in the interview, Bradley became emotional as Oprah asked him about the impact his father Charles' death in 2011 has had on his career. Recalling his dad dying in his arms after losing his battle with lung cancer, he explained: "It was everything. It was the biggest gift he gave me – the second biggest gift. (The first was) having me and bringing me into this life and (then) him allowing me to be witness to his passing was equally as huge."
"It really honestly felt like... when he took the last breath I honestly felt like it went into me, and I've never seen anything the same since. I stopped sweating stuff that I was sweating before that. It changed the way I was as an actor by, like, the next day, and I just started to live my life in a different way."
Bradley is now a father himself, to daughter Lea with girlfriend Irina Shayk, and told Oprah that he often sees his father in his little girl.
"Our daughter, she's incredible. I see my father in her quite often," he smiled. "I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I had moments when... I was just in the room with her I would just say 'Dad?' There are some moments where she looks just like my father."