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Irish actress Ruth Negga nominated for Oscar has UK has worst showing in decade

By Kirsty Blake Knox

For a notoriously shy actress, Ruth Negga is in for a whirlwind of Hollywood hype, hysteria and PR spin in the lead-up to the 86th Academy Awards.

The Ethiopian-born Irish actress has received her first Oscar nomination for her role in Jeff Nichols' heartfelt film, Loving.

Negga will go up against Academy Award stalwart Meryl Streep, who received her 20th nomination for her performance in Florence Foster Jenkins.

She also faces competition from Emma Stone in La La Land, Natalie Portman in Jackie, and Isabelle Huppert for her role in thriller Elle.

Talk that Amy Adams had been snubbed for her role in sci-fi yarn Arrival was compounded yesterday when the official Oscars website made an unfortunate gaffe.

The site listed Adams as a nominee instead of Negga. The mistake was quickly amended, but speculation about a last-minute switch was soon doing the rounds on social media - all of which the Academy dismissed.

The UK slumped to its lowest number of Oscar nominations for at least 10 years. This year it is represented by just 12 nominees, down from a total of 29 at the 2016 awards.

Among the British hopefuls this year are three actors: Naomie Harris, Dev Patel and Andrew Garfield - down slightly from six in 2016.

Harris (40) earned a best supporting actress nod for her role as a crack addict in the Barry Jenkins drama, Moonlight.

She said: "I am completely numb. When the announcements were made, I told everyone to turn them off because I couldn't take the tension any more.

"I was preparing myself for the worst, for not being nominated, and thought I have to be ready, to be at peace with whatever happens, whether I'm nominated or not."

Garfield paid tribute to the US Army medic he portrays in Hacksaw Ridge as he reacted to his first nod from the Academy.

The British- American actor received a best actor nomination for the Mel Gibson-directed World War Two film, which is based on the story of conscientious objector Desmond Doss, who received America's Medal of Honour after saving the lives of 75 men on a battlefield without carrying a gun.

Garfield said: "I'm profoundly moved that Desmond Doss is becoming a household name and the virtues of his character are being felt deeply by audiences around the world. He was a personification of humility, compassion, authenticity and love."

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