The Brit star was nominated for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role honour at the 2004 Academy Awards for her part in the moving drama, and despite missing out on the trophy, she found herself inundated with movie offers.
But Okonedo wanted to keep her young daughter Aoife at school in the U.K. - so passed on the chance to make it big in Tinseltown.
She says, "I could have taken big money at one stage. After the Oscar nomination there were some big things mentioned.
"But it would have meant moving to America. And my domestic life here is set up in a way that I can't move there unless I want to leave my daughter or something ridiculous like that, and she certainly doesn't want to go there. Also, Los Angeles - I'm not thick-skinned enough to live there.
"And some other things here I was offered very good money for - but the parts just felt badly written. I'd be the girlfriend of someone really famous and I'd always be the same - wearing a tight dress and saying the odd slap-piece smarmy (cheesy) line - and I just thought, 'First, I'm not very good at those parts anyway, and second, there are much prettier younger actresses to do them other than me!'"