EXCLUSIVE: Oprah Winfrey and director Ava DuVernay discuss the women of Selma

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Ava DuVernay's Selma is a powerful retelling of the voting rights marches that took place between Selma and Montgomery, Alabama, in the 1960s. It has been nominated for two Oscars, including Best Picture, and its star David Oyelowo, playing the role of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, has been gaining critical acclaim across the board.

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But it is the female actors, including Carmen Ejojo, Oprah Winfrey, and Tessa Thompson, who take on some of the most important roles within this adaptation of real life events.

David Oweyelo and Carmen Ejogo as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King

In an exclusive clip for HELLO! Online, director Ava DuVernay reveals why it was important to tell everyone's story, and not just Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s, revealing: "It was important to include women in this story because women were instrumental to the movement.

"Coretta Scott King, to Amelia Boynton to Annie Lee Cooper, to Diane Nash, it's unthinkable to tell the story without them."

British actress Carmen Ejogo added: "For a lot of people Coretta is the only real female figure of the movement.

Oprah Winfrey stars as Annie Lee Cooper, one of the civil rights movements most famous women

"But in fact there were some incredibly dynamic powerful women that played as much as part in making Selma the moment in history that it was, as any of the men."

Selma focuses on the three-month struggle Dr. Martin Luther King and his group, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, took on as they tried to eliminate the discriminatory practises which stopped black Americans from being allowed to vote whilst facing violent opposition from government, police forces, and the public.

Oprah, who portrays Annie Lee Cooper, added: "Behind every one of those men who was out there was a mother, an aunt, a wife, a sister, saying 'You can do it.'"

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