Sophie Okonedo

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Sophie Okonedo
SophieOkonedo08TIFF.jpg
Born 1968
London, England, UK
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1991 – present

Sophie Okonedo, OBE (born 1968)[1][2] is a British actress, who has starred in UK and US productions. In 1991, she made her acting debut in the British coming-of-age drama, Young Soul Rebels. She has received an Academy Award nomination for her critically acclaimed role in Hotel Rwanda, a Golden Globe nomination for Tsunami: The Aftermath, and BAFTA nominations for Criminal Justice and Mrs. Mandela. Her other film roles included Aeon Flux, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Dirty Pretty Things, Skin and The Secret Life of Bees.

Early life[edit]

Okonedo was born in London, the daughter of Joan (née Allman), a pilates teacher, and Henry Okonedo (1939–2009), who worked for the government.[3] Her father was Nigerian, and her mother, an Ashkenazi Jew, was born in the East End, to Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Poland and Russia. Okonedo was brought up in her mother's Jewish faith.[4][5][6] When she was five years old, her father left the family, and she was brought up in relative poverty by her single mother ("but we always had books," she has said).[7]

Career[edit]

Okonedo trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[8] She has worked in a variety of media including film, television, theatre and audio drama. She performed in Scream of the Shalka, a webcast based on the BBC television series Doctor Who as Alison Cheney, a companion of the Doctor. As well as providing the character's voice, Okonedo's likeness was used for the animation of the character. In 2010, Okonedo portrayed Liz Ten (Queen Elizabeth X) in the BBC TV Series Doctor Who episodes "The Beast Below" and again briefly in "The Pandorica Opens".

Okonedo played the role of Jenny in Danny Brocklehurst's BAFTA nominated episode of Paul Abbott's series, Clocking Off. She also played the part of Tulip Jones in the film Stormbreaker (2006) and Nancy in the 2007 television adaptation of Oliver Twist. She is also known for playing the part of the Wachati Princess in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.

She was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda and nominated for a Golden Globe for a Lead Actress in a Miniseries for her work in Tsunami: The Aftermath.

She played alongside Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Dakota Fanning as May Boatwright, a woman who struggles with depression, in the film The Secret Life of Bees (2008); opposite Sam Neill and Alice Krige as Sandra Laing in Skin (2009), and portrayed Winnie Mandela in the BBC drama Mrs Mandela broadcast in January 2010.[9]

Honours[edit]

Okonedo was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Queen's Birthday Honours.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Okonedo has one child named Aoife, from a previous relationship. They live in Muswell Hill, London. On her heritage, Sophie says, "I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be black" and calls her daughter an "Irish, Nigerian Jew".[11]

Her father Henry died on 22 July 2009 in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Academy Awards
    • 2005, Best Supporting Actress (Hotel Rwanda) [nominated]
  • BAFTA TV Awards
    • 2010, Best Leading Actress (Mrs Mandela) [nominated]
    • 2010, Best Supporting Actress (Criminal Justice) [nominated]
  • Black Reel Awards
    • 2005, Best Actress-Drama (Hotel Rwanda) [winner]
    • 2008, Best Ensemble (The Secret Life of Bees) [nominated]
    • 2008, Best Supporting Actress (The Secret Life of Bees) [nominated]
    • 2010, Best Actress (Skin) [nominated]
  • British Independent Film Awards
    • 2003, Best Supporting Actress (Dirty Pretty Things) [nominated]
    • 2009, Best Actress (Skin) [nominated]
  • Golden Globes
    • 2007, Best Actress in a Mini-Series/Television Movie (Tsunami: The Aftermath) [nominated]
  • Hollywood Film Festival
    • 2008, Ensemble Acting of the Year (The Secret Life of Bees) [winner]
  • Image Awards
    • 2005, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Hotel Rwanda) [nominated]
    • 2007, Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie/Mini-Series (Tsunami: the Aftermath) [winner]
    • 2009, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (The Secret Life of Bees) [nominated]
    • 2010, Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture (Skin) [nominated]
  • Screen Actors Guild Awards
    • 2005, Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Hotel Rwanda) [nominated]
    • 2005, Outstanding Ensemble in a Motion Picture (Hotel Rwanda) [nominated]

Filmography[edit]

Films
Year Title Role Notes
1991 Young Soul Rebels Tracy
1993 Age of Treason Niobe (TV film)
1994 Governor, TheThe Governor Moira Levitt (TV series)
1995 Go Now Paula
1995 Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls The Wachati Princess
1996 Staying Alive Kelly Booth (TV series)
1996 Deep Secrets Honey (TV film)
1997 Jackal, TheThe Jackal Jamaican Girl
1999 This Year's Love Denise
1999 Mad Cows Rosy
2000 In Defence Bernie Kramer (TV series)
2000 Peaches Pippa
2000 Never Never Jo Weller (TV film)
Nominated – Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor- Female
2001 Sweet Revenge Ellen (TV film)
2002 Clocking Off Jenny Wood (TV series; 1 episode)
2002 Dead Casual Donna (TV film)
2002 Dirty Pretty Things Juliette
2003 Cross My Heart Marsee
2003 Inspector Lynley Mysteries, TheThe Inspector Lynley Mysteries Eve Bowen (TV series; 1 episode)
2003 Spooks Amanda Roke (TV series; 1 episode)
2003 Alibi Marcey Burgess (TV film)
2003 Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka Alison Cheney (Animated story; 6 episodes)
2004 Hotel Rwanda Tatiana Rusesabagina Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – London Critics Circle Film Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2004 Whose Baby? Karen Jenkins (TV film)
2005 Born With Two Mothers Lucretia Bridges (TV film)
2005 Æon Flux Sithandra
2006 Celebration Sonia (TV film)
2006 Stormbreaker Mrs Jones
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Anna
2006 Tsunami: The Aftermath Susie Carter (TV mini-series)
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated – Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television
2007 Martian Child Sophie
2007 Oliver Twist Nancy (TV mini-series)
2008 Secret Life of Bees, TheThe Secret Life of Bees May Boatwright Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Nominated – Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
2008 Skin Sandra Laing Nominated – Black Reel Award for Best Actress
Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated – NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
2009 Father & Son Connie Turner (TV mini-series; 4 episodes)
2009 Criminal Justice Jackie 'Jack' Wolf (TV mini-series; 5 episodes)
Nominated – BAFTA Television Award for Best Supporting Actress
2010 Mrs Mandela Winnie Mandela (TV film)
Nominated – BAFTA Television Award for Best Actress
2010 Doctor Who Liz Ten (TV series; 2 episodes)
2011 The Slap Aisha (TV series; current)
2012 Sinbad Razia (TV series)
2013 Mayday Fiona (TV series)
2013 After Earth Faia Raige
2013 The Escape Artist Margaret 'Maggie' Gardner (TV series)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Profile
  2. ^ BFI profile
  3. ^ Daily Mail report on Okonedo
  4. ^ Franks, Alan (8 December 2007). "Sophie Okonedo does the twist". The Times (UK). Retrieved 8 December 2007. 
  5. ^ 'Sophie Okonedo: "Fame, here I come"'
  6. ^ Hoggard, Liz (20 February 2005). "'I guess I'm up for grabs now'". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 16 July 2009. 
  7. ^ Interfaith Celebrities The Jewish Mermaid – InterfaithFamily.com
  8. ^ RADA website
  9. ^ Ben Dowell (11 March 2009). "BBC commissions Winnie Mandela drama". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 March 2009. 
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59446. p. 12. 12 June 2010.
  11. ^ http://www.channel4.com/culture/microsites/O/origination/new_jews_double.html

External links[edit]