Cannes is Loving Limerick raised actress Ruth Negga


Cannes is Loving Limerick raised actress Ruth Negga

Scoil Carmel-educated Ruth Negga has been the toast of Cannes this week, as stars descended

LIMERICK-raised actress Ruth Negga is being tipped for possible Oscar glory, as her latest role has witnessed rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival.

The former Love/Hate star, 34, who also played Shirley Bassey in an acclaimed BBC drama, has been tipped as one of next year's Best Actress Oscar nominees for her performance in the new American film Loving, which received its world premiere in Cannes on Monday. 

Loving 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, at a time when interracial marriage was illegal.

“Few films at this year's festival have been greeted with such warmth,” wrote The Irish Times film critic Donald Clarke. “What lingers most is the vista of Ruth Negga’s strong, furrowed, defiant face. The Irish actor now has the world at her feet.”

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”.

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

“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.”

Born in Ethiopia and raised in Limerick, where her mother’s family are from, she was educated at Trinity and has lived in London for the past decade, she has spoken previously about never feeling like she fitted in anywhere. 

“My feelings of difference were partly down to having parents of different races. I had quite a scattered childhood. I never really fitted anywhere. 

“I didn't feel it was a negative thing and I was never made to feel different, I just knew I was.” 

Her breakout role was in Neil Jordan’s 2004 film Breakfast on Pluto, followed by Ophelia at the National Theatre, the Misfits TV series, and Shirley Bassey in a BBC2 biopic, amongst others. An Irish release date for Loving has yet to be announced.

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