|Born||11 August 1968|
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation(s)||Actress and narrator|
Sophie Okonedo Tony Award, she has been nominated for an Academy Award, three BAFTA Television Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and a Primetime Emmy Award. She began her film career in the British coming-of-age drama Young Soul Rebels (1991) before appearing in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995), and Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things (2002).(born 11 August 1968) is an English actress and narrator. The recipient of a
Okonedo's breakthrough performance came in 2004, when she co-starred in the film Hotel Rwanda as Tatiana Rusesabagina, the wife of Rwandan hotel manager and humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, portrayed by American actor Don Cheadle. For this role, she became the second Black female Briton to receive a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress at the 77th Academy Awards in 2005. She later received a Golden Globe Award nomination for the miniseries Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006) and BAFTA TV Award nominations for the drama series Criminal Justice (2009) and the television film Mrs. Mandela (2010). Her other film roles include Æon Flux (2005), Skin (2008), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), and Christopher Robin (2018).
On stage, Okonedo starred as Cressida in the 1999 Royal National Theatre production of Troilus and Cressida. She made her Broadway debut in the 2014 revival of A Raisin in the Sun and received a Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play and won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Ruth Younger.
Okonedo was born on 11 August 1968 in London, the daughter of Joan (née Allman), a Jewish Pilates teacher who was born in the East End of London, and Henry Okonedo (1939–2009), a British Nigerian who worked for the government. Okonedo's maternal grandparents, who spoke Yiddish, were from families that had emigrated from Poland and Russia. Okonedo was raised in her mother's Jewish faith.
Okonedo trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. 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 TV Award nominated episode of Paul Abbott's series Clocking Off. She also played the role of Tulip Jones in the film Stormbreaker (2006) and Nancy in the television adaptation of Oliver Twist (2007). She is also known for playing the role of the Wachati Princess in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995). In October 2017, Michael Caton-Jones stated that, in 1998, he had chosen Okonedo to star in B. Monkey. However, the film's producer, Harvey Weinstein, banned this because the actress did not meet his personal sexual preference.
She was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Supporting Actress for her role as Tatiana Rusesabagina in Hotel Rwanda (2004) and nominated for a Golden Globe Award for a Lead Actress in a Miniseries for her work in Tsunami: The Aftermath (2006).
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.
In 2014 she appeared on Broadway as Ruth Younger in the revival of A Raisin in the Sun. She won the Tony Award, Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for this role, beating out co-star and fellow nominee Anika Noni Rose. In 2016, Okonedo returned to Broadway in Ivo van Hove's production of Arthur Miller's The Crucible at the Walter Kerr Theatre as Elizabeth Proctor opposite Bill Camp, Tavi Gevinson, Jason Butler Harner, Ciarán Hinds, Jim Norton, Saoirse Ronan, Thomas Jay Ryan and Ben Whishaw. Also in 2016, Okonedo appeared as Queen Margaret in the second season of the BBC's The Hollow Crown, an adaptation of the Shakespearean plays Henry VI, Part I, II, III and Richard III. She performed in the role of Stevie in the 2017 West End revival of the existentialist play The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, by Edward Albee. Directed by Ian Rickson and also starring Damian Lewis as Martin, the production's first preview was on 24 March 2017, opening night on 5 April 2017, and final performance on 24 June 2017, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
In May 2013, Okonedo played the role of Hunter in a BBC radio production of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, adapted by Dirk Maggs. She portrayed Siuan Sanche in the 2021 television series The Wheel of Time.
Okonedo has one daughter, from a relationship she had with Irish film editor Eoin Martin, and lives in Muswell Hill, London. On her heritage, Okonedo has said, "I feel as proud to be Jewish as I feel to be Black" and calls her daughter an "Irish, Nigerian Jew".
Okonedo was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 New Year Honours, both for services to drama.
|1991||Young Soul Rebels||Tracy|
|Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls||The Wachati Princess|
|1997||The Jackal||Jamaican Girl|
|1999||This Year's Love||Denise|
|2002||Dirty Pretty Things||Juliette|
|2003||Cross My Heart||Marsee|
|2004||Hotel Rwanda||Tatiana Rusesabagina|
|Scenes of a Sexual Nature||Anna|
|2008||The Secret Life of Bees||May Boatwright|
|2013||After Earth||Faia Raige|
|2018||Christopher Robin||Kanga (voice)|
|2022||Death on the Nile||Salome Otterbourne|
|Catherine Called Birdy||Ethelfritha Rose Splinter of Devon|
|Raymond & Ray||Kiera|
|2023||Heart of Stone||Filming|
|Denotes productions that have not yet been released|
|1993||Age of Treason||Niobe||Television film|
|1995||The Governor||Moira Levitt||6 episodes|
|1996||Staying Alive||Kelly Booth||12 episodes|
|1996||Murder Most Horrid||Rachel||1 episode|
|1996||Deep Secrets||Honey||Television film|
|2000||In Defence||Bernie Kramer||4 episodes|
|2000||Never Never||Jo Weller||Television film|
|2001||Sweet Revenge||Ellen||Television film|
|2002||Clocking Off||Jenny Wood||5 episodes|
|2002||Dead Casual||Donna||Television film|
|2003||The Inspector Lynley Mysteries||Eve Bowen||1 episode|
|2003||Spooks||Amanda Roke||1 episode; uncredited|
|2003||Alibi||Marcey Burgess||Television film|
|2003||Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka||Alison Cheney (voice)||6 episodes|
|2004||Whose Baby?||Karen Jenkins||Television film|
|2005||Born with Two Mothers||Lucretia Bridges||Television film|
|2006||Tsunami: The Aftermath||Susie Carter||Miniseries|
|2007||Racism: A History||Narrator||Miniseries|
|2009||Father & Son||Connie Turner||Miniseries, 4 episodes|
|2009||Criminal Justice||Jackie 'Jack' Wolf||Miniseries, 5 episodes|
|2010||Mrs. Mandela||Winnie Mandela||Television film|
|2010||Doctor Who||Liz Ten||2 episodes: "The Beast Below" and "The Pandorica Opens"|
|2013||The Escape Artist||Margaret 'Maggie' Gardner||Miniseries|
|2015||The Stranger on the Bridge||Narrator||Television film|
|2016||The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses||Margaret, the Queen Consort of England||Miniseries, 3 episodes|
|2017||Thailand: Earth’s Tropical Paradise||Narrator||Documentary|
|2017||Concorde: A Supersonic Story||Narrator||Documentary|
|2018||Wanderlust||Angela Bowden||4 episodes|
|2019||Chimerica||Tessa Kendrick||4 episodes|
|2020||Criminal: UK||Julia Bryce||1 episode|
|2020||Ratched||Charlotte Wells||3 episodes|
|2020||His Dark Materials||Xaphania (voice)||4 episodes|
|2021||Modern Love||Liz||1 episode|
|2021||The Wheel of Time||Siuan Sanche “The Amyrlin Seat”||1 episode|
|2022||Slow Horses||Ingrid Tearney||1 episode|
|2022||Inside No. 9||Katrina||Episode: "Nine Lives Kat"|
|2014||A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry||Ruth||Ethel Barrymore Theater, (New York City)|
|2011||Haunted Child by Joe Penhall||Julie||Royal Court (London, UK)|
|2016||The Crucible by Arthur Miller||Elizabeth Proctor||Walter Kerr Theater (New York City)|
|2017||The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? by Edward Albee||Stevie Gray||Theatre Royal Haymarket (London, UK)|
|2018||Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare||Cleopatra||Royal National Theatre (London, UK)|
|2023||Medea by Euripides||Medea||@sohoplace (London, UK)|
|Denotes productions that have not yet been released|
Awards and nominations
Film and Television
|Award||Year[A]||Recipient or nominee||Category||Result||Ref.|
|Academy Awards||2005||Hotel Rwanda||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|||
|BAFTA TV Awards||2010||Mrs. Mandela||Best Leading Actress||Nominated|
|Criminal Justice||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Black Reel Awards||2005||Hotel Rwanda||Best Actress-Drama||Won|
|2008||The Secret Life of Bees||Best Ensemble||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|British Independent Film Awards||2003||Dirty Pretty Things||Best Supporting Actress||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||2007||Tsunami: The Aftermath||Best Actress in a Mini-Series/Television Movie||Nominated|
|Hollywood Film Festival||2008||The Secret Life of Bees||Ensemble Acting of the Year||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||2020||Ratched (TV series)||Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Nominated|
- Hollywood Film Festival
- 2008, Ensemble Acting of the Year (The Secret Life of Bees ), winner
- NAACP 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
|2014||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play||A Raisin in the Sun||Won|||
|Drama Desk Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Nominated|||
|Outer Critics Circle Award||Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play||Nominated|||
|2016||Tony Award||Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play||The Crucible||Nominated|||
|2018||Evening Standard Theatre Award||Best Actress||Antony and Cleopatra||Won|||
|Critics’ Circle Theatre Award||Best Shakespearean Performance||Won|||
|2019||Laurence Olivier Award||Best Actress||Nominated|||
- Indicates the year of ceremony. Each year is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.
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- RADA website entry Archived 28 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
- Director Says Harvey Weinstein Recast the Lead in His Film Because the Actress Wasn't 'F*ckable', Jackson McHenry, Vulture.com, 17 October 2017
- Ben Dowell (11 March 2009). "BBC commissions Winnie Mandela drama". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 March 2009.
- Staff. "Just the Winners, Please: Who Won the 68th Annual Tony Awards" Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, 8 June 2014
- Gioia, Michael."The "American Dream": Tony-Winning Revival of 'A Raisin in the Sun' Recoups" Archived 14 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine playbill.com, 10 June 2014
- Brantley, Ben (31 March 2016). "Review: In Arthur Miller's Crucible, First They Came for the Witches". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- Ratcliffe, Amy (10 December 2021). "THE WHEEL OF TIME'S SHOWRUNNER ON MOIRAINE AND SIUAN". Nerdist. Retrieved 11 December 2021.
- "I guess I'm up for grabs now" The Guardian
- "New Jews" channel4.com
- "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 12.
- "2019 New Year Honours List". The London Gazette. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
- "Undercover: Episode 1: Credits". BBC Online. Retrieved 3 April 2016.
- Danaher, Caitlin (24 September 2020). "Sophie Okonedo joins cast of Britannia for upcoming third series". Retrieved 29 August 2021.
- Brantley, Ben (15 June 2014). "No Rest for the Weary". The New York Times.
- Billington, Michael (9 December 2011). "Haunted Child – review by Michael Billington". The Guardian.
- Brantley, Ben (17 July 2016). "Review: In Arthur Miller's 'Crucible,' First They Came for the Witches". The New York Times.
- Wolf, Matt (24 April 2017). "Adultery with a Difference on the London Stage". The New York Times.
- Cooke, Dominic (2022). [hhttps://sohoplace.org/whats-on/medea "Medea performed at @Sohoplace Feb-April 2023"]. @sohoplace.
- "The 59th Annual Drama Desk Awards". New York Theater Guide. 19 October 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
- Gans, Andrew (12 May 2014). "64th Annual Outer Critics Circle Award Winners Announced; Gentleman's Guide Wins Four Awards". Playbill. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
- Variety Staff; Staff, Variety (12 June 2016). "Tony Awards Winners: Complete List". Variety. Retrieved 18 January 2021.
- Thompson, Jessie (19 November 2018). "Find out the winners of this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards". www.standard.co.uk. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- "2018 Results | Critics' Circle Theatre Awards". 29 January 2019. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
- "Winners list for the Olivier Awards 2019 with Mastercard | Official Website". Olivier Awards. Retrieved 6 December 2020.