Sophie Okonedo has more than "Bees" buzzing around her.
The British-born thespian, who is one of the stars of "The Secret Life of Bees," has gotten a lot of early Oscar buzz for her performance as May Boatwright in the much-anticipated period drama that hits theaters on Friday.
Okonedo, who earned an Oscar nod for her supporting role as Don Cheadle's wife in "Hotel Rwanda," blushed a bit when hearing that she's one of the early front-runners for Hollywood's most coveted prize saying, "I became an actor because I wanted to tell stories."
And she thinks "Bees" is a wonderful story. She plays the middle sister between August (Queen Latifah) and June (Alicia Keys) who has some special issues she's dealing with.
"Throughout history storytelling has been the key to people understanding life the way it was and life as it is now," she said. "That's a very, very healing process in many, many cultures. Sometimes you only learn about things when you go to see movies."
Okonedo had to take a crash course in American Civil Rights history. "Bees" is set in 1964 and deals with a plethora of issues affecting blacks and whites in South Carolina. The upscale Boatwright sisters owned their own home and business were not exempt from racism.
"Things are never black-and-white," she said. "That was the beauty of our movie."