EXCLUSIVE: Ruth Negga on Oscar 'Butterflies' and Her Couture Gown: 'I Feel Like I'm Walking on Air'

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"I've got butterflies," Ruth Negga revealed on the Oscars red carpet. "Thousands of them."

The first-time nominee -- a Best Actress contender for Loving -- spoke with ET about attending her first-ever Academy Awards and her custom Valentino gown, saying, "My stylist said, 'I want her to look like air,' and I feel like I'm walking on air..."

As for what goes into getting a custom gown from one of the world's most prestigious designers, Negga deadpanned, "A lot of work. There are so many people working on it with such talented hands. They're artists. It's a work of art. That's why I love fashion, because it is essentially art."

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The ensemble wasn't just art, but made a statement too, with Negga adding a blue ribbon to her gown to support the American Civil Liberties Union.

"I'm a big fan and champion of theirs," she explained. "They change the Constitution for the better, and that's what they're about. They're about equal rights for all, unequivocally. That's what we should all be about."

It's a sentiment echoed in her film, Loving, about Mildred and Richard Loving (the latter played by Joel Edgerton) and the landmark court case that legalized interracial marriage. It earned her a place among Emma Stone, Isabelle Huppert, Natalie Portman and Meryl Streep.

"When I see my name amongst the other nominees, I just feel so thrilled," she humbly stated. "Because they're such amazing women, actresses. [They're] humble and so talented. It's seeping out of their pores and I feel very privileged, genuinely."

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