'Always a star in the family': Ruth's Oscar bid

Anne Sheridan


Anne Sheridan

'Always a star in the family': Ruth's Oscar bid

Rising star Ruth Negga, 34, who grew up in Limerick city

SHE has been the toast of Cannes this week, is tipped to be an Oscar nominee for best actress next year, but for her family in Limerick she has always been a starlet in their eyes.

Ger Malone, one of Ruth Negga’s four uncles in Limerick, where she grew up in her early years, said all the family have been delighted to witness her success with her latest movie, Loving, which has received rave reviews at its premiere this Monday at the Cannes film festival.

It has also put her firmly in the spotlight as a potential Oscar nominee for 2017.

One of Ger’s sons, David, who like Ruth also lives in London, accompanied her on the trip to the glitzy French seaside town and walk up the famous red carpet, where Hollywood stars and movie makers and shakers descend at least once a year.

“Absolutely, we’re all very proud of her,” Mr Malone told the Limerick Leader.

“She’s a hard worker, very committed and deserves every success. It’s a tough game, she’s very busy, over and back between London and America, so she deserves everything she gets. She was always a great little actress growing up.”

Ger said it would be “fantastic” if she received an Oscar nomination, and said if she does, they’ll be eagerly watching from home, while Ruth enjoys herself with her younger cousins in Tinseltown.

Among her cousins in Limerick is Peter Malone, another son of Ger, who has played rugby with Bruff, St Munchin's, Garryowen, Munster, and who is now Munster Rugby's elite player development manager. 

Ruth’s mother Nora now lives in London, after moving from Limerick, and there are four other aunts and uncles from the Dooradoyle Road, and even more cousins.

Negga, an only child, was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she lived until she was four. Her mother Nora was working in Ethiopia as a nurse when she met Negga's father. Sadly, Ruth’s father died in a car accident when she was just seven.

She went to national school in Roxboro, and later spent part of her secondary school at Scoil Carmel on O’Connell Avenue, before moving to London and completing her drama studies at Trinity College Dublin.

The former Love/Hate star, 34, who also played Shirley Bassey in an acclaimed BBC drama, stars in the big screen in Loving, which tells the true story of an illegal inter-racial marriage in 1950s Virginia and stars Joel Edgerton as Richard Loving with Negga – who went to school for a time at Scoil Carmel on O’Connell Avenue – playing his wife, Mildred. 

The couple battled before the Supreme Court in 1967 for their right to live together as husband and wife.

The Hollywood Reporter also described the actress this week as “the definition of a decade-long overnight success”.

The Daily Telegraph said that “Negga, an Ethiopian-Irish actress best known for a handful of TV roles, is place-your-Oscar-bets-now tremendous in the role of a black woman quietly fighting her way to the centre of her own life story”.

“This is the most important film I’ve ever made,” said Negga. “It's one of the most important films in history, I think. I'm kind of overwhelmed by everything.”

“Mildred shied away from the spotlight completely, but she changed the course of American legal history. All she wanted to do was marry the man she loved. It took nine years. Can you imagine taking on the might of the American legal system? They were poor and fairly uneducated, but they just wanted to be with one another.”

Her breakout role was in Neil Jordan’s 2004 film Breakfast on Pluto, followed by Ophelia at the National Theatre, the Misfits TV series on E4, amongst others.