Why Oprah Decided to Take on "Selma"

Winfrey, who produced and starred in the film, and director Ava DuVernay talk about how this MLK biopic was made.
6:57 | 12/19/14

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Transcript for Why Oprah Decided to Take on "Selma"
Tonight, with police under scrutiny and racial injustice in the spotlight a new movie is bringing the original March to freedom on the big screen, Selma comes out an important time and the backing of a producer named Oprah. She talked to robin Roberts about looking at awards season from the inside this year. I'm just here trying to register to vote. Reporter: That's Oprah in Selma. Do you know what the preamble is? Reporter: Repeatedly humiliated when she tries to register to vote. Her brave attempt to have a voice heard made her a little-known hero of a voting rights movement. I did it for everybody. Who's taken that walk. And who literally took that walk for me. So that I could and you could be sitting here today. We must March! Reporter: Selma chronicles the 1965 the Montgomery March led by Dr. Martin Luther king Jr. Often brutal violence african Americans faced when they tried to vote. The release of this film comes at perhaps the right moment in time. Strategic intention. That had to happen in order for real progress to be made. Got to have a clear strategic intention of what it is you want to accomplishment and you can't be heard unless you come in peace. Those of us who have gone before us. Reporter: The leader Dr. Martin Luther king is portrayed by a british actor. I said yes to coming on as producer because I loved David, and we became friends during the butler. I'm sorry, Mr. Butler, I didn't mean to make fun of your hero. Reporter: David showed me this little tape of himself. On his phone. Of him doing an audition for martin Luther king. I said, David, I'm going to tell you the truth it's really good but it's not there yet. You're not there yet. I would like to do what I can do help you get there. Reporter: Oprah certainly did. The film has earned four golden globe awards. But Oprah found its biggest challenge in its director after other directors all men turned it down. What did you see in her that stood out? What she's able the do is make every person like you're special, valued and your being here really matters to the film. Reporter: While she brings the pivotal moment in history to life on screen, off screen, she's hoping to make history herself and indeed she has, she's the first after can American woman to be nominated for golden globe for best director. Has it sunk in now? It has. It's fun. It's bringing attention to the film which is the most important thing. Reporter: You're very quick to point to others who paved the way. It's bittersweet. My mother is very happy. But certainly I know that I'm not the first black woman deserving of this. Reporter: While her time on the red carpet is only just beginning -- Action. -- She's not the first female director get there. In 2010, kat Lin bigolo won. My cameramen are going to be walking along the crowd. Reporter: The scenes that were the most impactful were also the hardest to direct. I got to tell you this story. We're out with the extras. You're trying to get the people and they're lovely people, white people come, first time, they'll all dressed in the period time. A woman comes up to Eva now, do you want me to say the "N" word or do you want to say the actual word? I said, no, ma'am, I want you to say the n-word. Do I say n-word or do I say the real word. I said, no ma'am, the real n-word. I can't see life sometimes. Because of the fog. Reporter: The film gives us an intimate portrayal of Dr. King and his marriage. Another perspective that you brought to so delicately address Dr. King's infidelity through kcokor Coretta Scott king. To do it with within the context of the marriage. Another director. We have seen some scripts by male directors. Reporter: As she reiterates the fill system much bigger than the story of any one man. The film is called "Selma" not king for a reason. Reporter: I hard you say your hope is this will help in the conversation that we're having as a nation about race? Yes. It was jaw-dropping that this piece of art is coming out in this time, so robust with this energy of time. I hope this film adds to that change and maybe spark some new ideas. Very interesting stuff to reconsider. For such a time as this. Beautiful. If you believe all are created equal, come. Reporter: For "Nightline," I'm robin Roberts in New York. You can catch Selma in movie theaters on Christmas day.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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