2017 Oscars were more diverse than previous years.
Two more nominees were Best Actress Nominee Ruth Negga, for the movie Loving, and Bradford Young’s nomination for Best Cinematography for the movie Arrival.
By Nicole Sands•@nicolesands901
Posted on January 24, 2017 at 11:00am EST
From the moment audiences first saw her powerful performance in Loving at the Cannes Film Festival, Ruth Negga had major Oscar buzz — and now the Irish-Ethiopian rising star will be heading to the Academy Awards for the first time with a Best Supporting Actress nomination.
In the movie, Negga and Joel Edgerton play real-life couple Mildred and Richard Loving, who were arrested in 1958 in their own bedroom in Virginia. Their crime? Being in an interracial marriage. The Lovings’ love truly stood the test of time when they challenged the law and brought their case before the Supreme Court in 1967, leading to the end of laws against interracial marriage.
Here are five things you need to know about the 35-year-old actress, one of PEOPLE’s 2016 Ones to Watch:
1. She loves dressing up in costumes – not scrubs.
“You know when you’re a kid and you get to pick a movie every Friday? I watched everything,” Negga, who was born in Ethiopia and moved to Ireland as a child, told The Hollywood Reporter about not wanting to follow in the footsteps of her parents, both of whom are in the medical field. “There’s no particular genre that was appealing. I just loved the idea that you could dress up and play.”
2. Stardom was never her dream.
“I have not been aggressive in my pursuit of being a star,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “I’ve never had a plan. Maybe I need to be more aggressive, because it’s quite tough!”
“The god of acting laughs in the face of plans,” she told PEOPLE. “I just want to continue working with like-minded people.”
3. She finds the Hollywood limelight intrusive.
“If people want to invade your privacy they want to invade your privacy,” she told The Guardian after the paparazzi caught her and Preacher costar-boyfriend Dominic Cooper kissing during a romantic getaway in Italy. “I find it chilling and I find it awful and it makes me really nervous. It hasn’t happened to me much but when you have a taste of it, it’s bitter.” In the supernatural AMC series, Negga plays Tulip O’Hare, the gun-toting ex of Cooper’s character Jesse Custer, a small-town preacher
Kate Abbey-Lambertz National Reporter, The Huffington Post
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 89th annual Oscar awards on Tuesday morning. “Arrival,” a science-fiction drama starring Amy Adams, was nominated for seven other awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Young, 39, is the second black man to ever be nominated in the cinematography category. He follows in the footsteps of Britain’s Remi Adefarasin, who was nominated for “Elizabeth” in 1998.
Congrats to Bradford Young of #arrival – Second Black person ever to be nominated for Best Cinematography. pic.twitter.com/1SasBcfEKr
— Wilson Morales (@blackfilm) January 24, 2017
Young’s history-making nomination comes amidst a more diverse field of nominees than usual, with films like “Fences,” “Hidden Figures” and Moonlight” vying for top awards. Viola Davis earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for “Fences,” making her the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar three times.
The Academy has faced serious criticism over the last couple of years for lacking diversity in its nominees and its voting members. Following the viral #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign, the Academy made a push to invite hundreds of new members.
re: bradford young’s historic oscar nomination, i want to remind you of this convo he had with ava duvernay last yr: https://t.co/yKN3PKar43 pic.twitter.com/R0KuZjTisT
— Bim Adewunmi (@bimadew) January 24, 2017
Young’s nomination follows years of making critically acclaimed work. He has won the cinematography award for U.S. dramatic feature at the Sundance Film Festival for three films: “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “Mother of George” in 2013 and “Pariah” in 2011. He was the director of photography for Ava DuVernay’s celebrated film “Selma” and is working on the forthcoming “Star Wars” spinoff about Han Solo.
Young previously collaborated with DuVernay on “Middle of Nowhere.” In a 2012 New York Times interview about Young’s work on the movie, she described his visual style as “lush” and “full.”
“When I watch people of color in most films, the image is so often flat or partial,” DuVernay told the Times. “Nothing about what Bradford does is partial. Every frame is full-bodied and potent and robust. It’s so exciting because it’s so rare.”
Young is up against the cinematographers for “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Moonlight” and “Science” for the Oscar.