'She's in this for the right reasons' - Saoirse Ronan is full of praise for Oscar hopeful Ruth Negga
Irish actress Saoirse Ronan has sent her best wishes to Ruth Negga ahead of this year's Oscar awards.
Ronan, who herself has been nominated twice for an Oscar - including a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Atonement and a Best Actress nomination for Brooklyn - said the Limerick woman deserves every success after working so hard for so long.
Speaking about the Loving star, who has been hotly tipped to take the Oscar on the night, Ronan said: "Ruth has been around a long time and she is handling herself so well.
"She is smart and she seems like an actress who is in this for the right reasons, which is 'the work'. Once you have the security in knowing that you are in this for that reason, you will be fine."
On Negga's nomination, Saoirse said she knows, "it's such a journey to get to that point".
She added: "I know how much work goes into campaigning after going through it at last year's [award ceremony]. She deserves it. She's one of our best exports, she has been working so hard for so long and for her to finally get the recognition she deserves is great. She's a lovely, lovely girl and she's very talented. It's a real success story."
Negga's personal rise to fame champions the importance of persistence when chasing your dreams.
The actress originally went to Hollywood to take up a much-hyped role, appearing in 12 Years a Slave, in which she was cast as the character of Celeste.
Celeste spent months hiding out in a forest after escaping from the plantation she worked on and Negga spent three full days shooting footage for the movie in crocodile- infested waters - only for it to end up on the cutting-room floor.
When asked if it was a disappointment not to end up in the movie, she replied: ''That's an understatement!''
She explained how even during production she knew the film - which went on to win three Oscars including Best Picture - was going to be big.
But then, she said: ''I got a call from Steve [McQueen]and I knew as soon as the phone started ringing, I just knew.
''He let me down gently,'' she added.
However, in a dramatic turnaround of fortune, McQueen, the movie's director, recommended her to director Jeff Nichols, which led to her audition for Loving.
Now the toast of Hollywood, appearing in Vanity Fair magazine for its famous annual Oscar spread, the actress will find out if she has won the Best Actress award on Saturday, February 26.
The nomination hasn't been without controversy though - with at least one media outlet in the UK referring to her as British.
Asked about the faux pas, Saoirse, who has also been described as British by media outlets in previous years, replied: "I didn't even know anyone said that but I think everyone knows she is from here (Ireland) and that I'm Irish so I'm very proud of that."
Speaking about the advice she would give her younger self, if she were starting out again, Saoirse - who is set to play the lead role in On Chesil Beach, a new movie based on Ian McEwan's Booker Prize-nominated novel of the same name - said: "[I would tell my younger self that] it's a very unpredictable business and that you're going to have ups and downs and - as I said [about Ruth] - if you are very secure in how you feel about your work and your relationship with it then you'll be fine and that will carry you through."
This year's Oscars show more diversity than ever - a dramatic reversal of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that has rocked the industry for the past two years.
Negga represents the sole nod to Loving. No black actress has won this category since Halle Berry in 2001.