Actress Sophie Okonedo honoured for services to drama

Sophie Okonedo
Sophie Okonedo

Actress Sophie Okonedo, who lives near Glyndebourne, has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours for services to drama.

The 50-year-old star of film, theatre and television began her movie 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).

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 third black Briton, and second black female Briton, to receive an 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 mini-series 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.

She recently won Best Actress at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for her performance in Antony and Cleopatra.

Okonedo was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2010 Birthday Honours.

Meanwhile, the award of MBE has gone to Ian Daniel Kerwood, of Fletching, for services to sports shooting and to charity.