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IFTA Film & Drama Awards Focus: Lead Actress in Drama Nominations #IFTA17
15 Mar 2017 : Laura Brennan
Caitriona Balfe 'Outlander'
With the 2017 IFTA awards ceremony less than four weeks away, we continue our coverage with a look at the Best Actress in a Lead Role in Drama category. This year’s nominations once again showcases the high calibre of acting talent thriving amongst Irish actresses portraying deeply immersive roles of women across both home and international drama screens.

The five nominee’s this year include; Caitriona Balfe ‘Outlander’, Elaine Cassidy ‘No Offence’, Anne Marie Duff ‘Murder: The Lost Weekend’, Amy Huberman ‘Striking Out’ and finally Ruth Negga ‘Preacher’.

Taking a glance at these very talented nominees, it’s correct to say that this year’s category is hotly honoured and tipped to be up there in the competition stakes. As all five of the nominees have previously been IFTA nominated or past winners of Irish Academy awards.

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Caitriona is best known for playing the lead role of Claire Beauchamp in the Starz series 'Outlander'. This is her third IFTA nomination in a row for Best Actress in a Lead Role, Drama category for the series. With nominations in both 2015 and 2016 for her role in the romantic, time-travelling drama set in the Scottish highlands. Caitriona Balfe’s other screen credits include 'Money Monster', 'Now You See Me' and 'The Price of Desire'.

Speaking to IFTN this week about her IFTA nomination Caitriona Balfe had this to say:

"I am absolutely thrilled and honored to be nominated for an IFTA in the category of lead actress in TV Drama. I feel so fortunate to be working in a time when so many wonderfully complex and interesting women are being portrayed on our television screens. I am so proud to be alongside such talented women, congratulations to Ruth, Elaine, Anne Marie and Amy and all the other nominees."

Caitriona posted the below message to her fans on twitter after the IFTA nominations were announcement last week

Elaine Cassidy, No Offence

Elaine Cassidy is nominated for her role as Dinah Kowalska in the second series of Channel 4's gritty police drama, 'No Offence'. Her most recent projects include the independent feature, 'Mum's List', and the forthcoming new RTÉ series, 'Acceptable Risk'. This is Elaine’s second nomination in a row within this category for her role in ‘No Offence’ having also been nominated in 2016. This is Elaine’s eighth IFTA nomination in total across various projects in her career including an IFTA win in 2010 for Best Actress in a Lead Role in Television for her playing Abby Mills in ‘Harper’s Island’.

Elaine Cassidy had this to say about her IFTA Nomination:

“I’m absolutely delighted to be nominated. The standard year on year gets stronger and stronger. To be recognised and named among people I respect is an honour in itself.”

Anne Marie Duff, Murder: The Lost Weekend

Anne Marie Duff is nominated for her role playing DCI Gloss in the crime mini-series ‘Murder’. She is best known for acting roles in ‘Parade’s End’, 'Shameless', 'The Virgin Queen', 'Nowhere Boy', ‘The Magdalene Sisters’ and, on stage, as Lady Macbeth on Broadway. This is Anne Marie’s seventh IFTA nomination over her career. Back in 2004 she won her first IFTA for Best Actress in a TV Drama for playing Fiona Gallagher in ‘Shameless’ and has since been nominated for her roles in ‘The Virgin Queen’, ‘Garage’ and ‘Sanctuary’.

Amy Huberman - Striking Out

Amy is nominated for her role in the Irish Legal Drama ‘Striking Out’ in which she plays out the tumultuous professional and personal life of Dublin-based solicitor, Tara Rafferty. Amy made her first appearance on television in RTE’s ‘On Home Ground’. She went on to appear as Bella in ‘Showbands’, ‘Dream Team 80’s’, ‘Camera Café’ and ‘George Gently’ (BBC). Amy’s other credits includes, seven series of 'The Clinic', 'Your Bad Self’, 'Moone Boy', and Comedy Central's 'Threesome', 'The Stag' and most recently she appeared in John Butler's feature 'Handsome Devil' and 'Can't Cope, Won't Cope,' in which she stars alongside IFTA nominee for Best Actress in a Lead Role Film, Seána Kerslake.

This is Amy’s eighth IFTA nomination across her career, having been a previous winner of Best Actress in a Lead Role in Film/Television for ‘Rewind’ back in 2011 she was last nominated in 2014 for Best Supporting Actress Film in ‘The Bachelor Weekend’.

Amy Huberman had this to say about her IFTA Nomination:

"Feeling incredibly honoured to be nominated alongside Caitriona, Elaine, Anne Marie and Ruth. Thank you so much to IFTA for the nomination and congrats to all the nominees! Really looking forward to a great night celebrating Irish film and television."

Amy posted the below message to her fans on twitter after the IFTA nominations were announcement last week

Ruth Negga – Preacher

Ruth is nominated for her role playing Tulip O’Hare in the TV series ‘Preacher’. Starting her acting career on stage Ruth made her debut playing the lead role of Taiwoin in 'Capital Letters'. She appeared in Neil Jordan’s ‘Breakfast on Pluto’ for which she received her first of IFTA nominations in 2007 for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Feature Film, the same year she also received an IFTA Nomination for Best Actress in a Lead  Role in a Feature Film  for her role of Mary in ‘Isolation’. This year Ruth alike 2007 has again received two IFTA nominations one for Best Actress in a Lead Role, Drama and also another for Best Actress in a Lead Role, Film for her portrayal of Mildred Loving in Jeff Nichols ‘Loving’ which continues to gain her rising international scope across the film industry within 2017.

On television, Negga is known for her roles in ‘Misfits’, ‘Love/Hate’, ‘Doris’ and more she also appeared as Dame Shirley Bassey in the BBC production Shirley in 2011, and won the IFTA Award for Best Actress, Television for her performance.

The Irish Academy last week announced the line-up of nominees for the upcoming 2017 IFTA awards ceremony, which will take place on Saturday April 8th in the Mansion House, Dublin.

For a full list of #IFTA17 Nominees visit the Official IFTA Website 

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