Oscar buzz grows for Irish actress Ruth Negga as she's nominated for top award
Irish actress Ruth Negga has been nominated alongside Natalie Portman for a prestigious award.
The Love/Hate star (34) is up for Best Female Lead in the Independent Spirit Awards for her role in period drama Loving, which has won rave reviews from critics.
The Ethiopian-born actress faces stiff competition in the category from Oscar winner Portman for Jackie, Annette Bening for 20th Century Woman, Sasha Lane for American Honey and Isabelle Huppert for Elle.
The Independent Spirit Awards take place the day before the Academy Awards on February 25 in Los Angeles.
Negga is hotly tipped to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars, with many thinking she could take home the coveted statuette.
Director Jeff Nichols has also picked up a nomination for his efforts in the Independent Spirit Awards.
Loving tells the true story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial couple who lived in 1950s Virginia.
They were arrested and sent to prison in 1958 because their marriage violated state laws.
Exiled to Washington DC, the couple sued the state of Virginia, which culminated in a series of Supreme Court rulings that deemed the laws against interracial marr-iage as unconstitutional.
The film is due for release in February.
Its success has seen Negga become one of Hollywood's fastest-rising stars. She most recently starred in blockbuster Warcraft, which grossed more than €400m (€380m) at the box office.
The Trinity graduate recently revealed that she does not believe being a non-American had any effect on her ability to portray the story of the real-life couple convincingly.
"I think my job is to be a chameleon and to disappear, so I don't think my being Irish and Ethiopian should prohibit me from playing Mildred at all," she said.
"I believe that what should matter more is my skill set and my willingness to work."