Setting up a major awards season push, Paramount Pictures and Pathe have set the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. drama “Selma” for a limited release in the U.S. on Christmas.

The film will open wide on Jan. 9. Directed by Ava DuVernay, the film is being produced by Oprah Winfrey, Plan B and Cloud Eight Films’ Christian Colson.

Winfrey is starring as Annie Lee Cooper, a visible leader among the Civil Rights protesters in Selma who tried to register to vote and was unfairly denied by the sheriff. The film is shooting in Atlanta,  Montgomery and Selma, Ala.

The film recaps King’s struggle to secure voting rights for minorities during the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery that led to the passing of the Voting Rights Act. The film’s release will celebrate the 50th anniversary of that enactment.

The film stars David Oyelowo as King, Tom Wilkinson as Lyndon Baines Johnson, Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King and Andre Holland as Andrew Young.

Paramount is handling the film’s domestic distribution. Pathe is distributing in the U.K. and France; and Pathe Intl. will handle sales to the rest of the world.