Limerick's Ruth Negga nominated for an Oscar

Family in Dooradoyle celebrate as actor's star continues to rise

Anne Sheridan


Anne Sheridan


Limerick's Ruth Negga nominated for an Oscar

Ruth Negga at the Golden Globes recently

NOT since Richard Harris was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991, has another Limerick star touched Oscar glory.

Irish-Ethiopian Ruth Negga has this Tuesday lunchtime been announced as one of five nominees for a best actress award at the Oscars.

Her fellow nominees are Natalie Portman (Jackie), Meryl Streep (Florence Foster Jenkins), Emma Stone (La La Land), and Isabelle Huppert (Elle).

Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kieran O'Hanlon, said he will be writing to her on behalf of the citizens of Limerick to send his congratulations and every best wish for the upcoming ceremony itself.

"I was absolutely delighted to hear the news at lunchtime, and all of Limerick is certainly rooting for her. It's great for Limerick - we're on the map now in the film industry, with Troy Studios to set to open in Castletroy, and now we have a second Oscar nominee," he told the Limerick Leader.

"Win or lose, I would love to invite her and her family to a mayoral reception in City Hall, when her schedule allows for it," said the Fianna Fail mayor.

There will no doubt be celebrations shortly in Dooradoyle in honour of the Loving star, who counts a wide extended family in the city’s suburbs.

Ger Malone, one of Negga’s four uncles in Limerick, where she grew up in her early years, told the Leader today that the news is “fantastic”.

He said that there will be a "quiet celebration" tonight and more to come at the weekend as more family converge back in Limerick.

"It's great news for Limerick and it's great news for the family," he said.

He said he doubts he'll be attending the Oscars himself on February 26, but they’ll be eagerly watching from home, while she enjoys herself with a family representative.

Mr Malone said all the family have been delighted to witness her success.

“Absolutely, we’re all very proud of her. She’s a hard worker, very committed and deserves every success. She was always a great little actress growing up.”

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. 

Her cousin Dave Malone has frequently been her companion of choice as she stepped out on successive red carpets at the Golden Globes, and previously in New York and Cannes.

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. Ruth’s father was due to move to Limerick after them but died in a car accident, when she was just seven.

She went to national school in Roxborough, and later spent part of her secondary school at the all-girls Scoil Carmel on O’Connell Avenue, which has now closed its door. She moved to London and completing her drama studies at Trinity College Dublin.

The former Love/Hate star, 35, who also played Shirley Bassey in an acclaimed BBC drama, is nominated for her role in Loving, which tells the true story of an illegal inter-racial marriage in 1950s Virginia. 

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

Limerick's hellraiser Richard Harris was last nominated for an Oscar in 1991 for The Field, and was earlier nominated for his role in This Sporting Life in 1964.