Kimberly Elise And Oprah Winfrey In 'Beloved'

A Look Back at Oprah the Actress

You get a movie! And you get a movie! And you get a movie!

She's been called "The Queen of All Media" — a triple (quadruple? quintuple?) threat who's led the cultural conversation for decades. But strip away her most prominent titles — talk show host, magazine producer, book club curator, executive producer — and you're still left with something formidable: Oscar-nominated actress. Sure, acting has never been Oprah Winfrey's bread-and-butter, but she's darn good at that too. (Is there nothing this woman can't do?) With her latest movie "A Wrinkle in Time" hitting theaters on March 9, we look back at some of Oprah's defining roles. (Pictured: Oprah in 1998's "Beloved" alongside Kimberly Elise and Thandie Newton.)

"The Color Purple," 1985 Archive Photos/Getty Images "The Color Purple," 1985 Oprah made her big-screen debut just months before her Chicago-based talk show "The Oprah Winfrey Show" went national. The 31-year-old was cast as headstrong housewife Sofia in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the classic Alice Walker novel, and would earn a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her turn — ultimately losing out to Anjelica Huston for "Prizzi's Honor." Yet, the role remains a seminal one. "'The Color Purple' changed my life," Oprah told Collider in 2014. "I had never been happier in my life. It is the reason why I ended up owning my own show. " "Saturday Night Live," 1986 NBC/NBC via Getty Images "Saturday Night Live," 1986 Forty-three seasons into the NBC sketch show, you could be forgiven for not remembering a host or two. Like, say, Oprah, who graced the Studio 8H stage not long after her Oscar loss. A fact she poked fun at in her opening monologue: "When they asked me to host this show a few weeks ago I thought it was going to be the second most exciting night of my life," she said. "Well, the Academy Awards are over and, as it turned out, this is actually the most exciting night of my life." With her reputation for gravitas, it's nice to see Oprah have a little fun. "Brewster Place," 1990 Douglas Kirkland/Corbis via Getty Images "Brewster Place," 1990 A multitasker almost to a fault, Oprah attempted to juggle the demands of her daily talk show and this weekly family drama, a spin-off of her earlier successful miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place." (She both starred and executive produced.) As Oprah recalls: "It almost killed me." Perhaps thankfully, the ABC series lasted only 11 episodes. "Ellen," 1997 ABC Photo Archives/ABC Photo Archives/Getty Images "Ellen," 1997 Before hosting her own beloved daytime talk show, Ellen DeGeneres starred in an eponymous sitcom on ABC that ran for five seasons. And for her most important episode — in which her character Ellen Morgan, and by extension, DeGeneres herself, came out — she called on an assist from Oprah, who played her therapist. "I thought you would legitimize all of it," DeGeneres recalled to Oprah in a 2017 interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "Like, people would go, we're not trying to make a joke of this, it's actually serious." For her part, Oprah recalls immediately saying yes to the role: "I so believed in your truth and I wanted to support you," she said. The day after the episode aired, the switchboard at Oprah's studio lit up with calls spewing vitriol and bigotry. "I was never so surprised by the hatred." "Before Women Had Wings," 1997 Bryan Chan/LA Times via Getty Images "Before Women Had Wings," 1997 Oprah produced this TV movie about a recently widowed woman (Ellen Barkin) who becomes abusive to her two daughters (Julia Stiles and Tina Majorino). The younger daughter (Majorino) is soon befriended by a kind soul played by Oprah. For Majorino, who was around 11 years old at the time, working alongside Oprah was a transformative experience. "Our working relationship was wonderful. Given the fact that she was producing the film and was so heavily invested in the entire process, it meant a lot to me that she picked me to help tell this incredible story," Majorino tells FOTO. "She wanted each person to shine and to feel good about their performance. Observing that taught me so much about the kind of actress that I wanted to be. She was an incredible scene partner — so dedicated, present, and giving — that often I'd get lost in the world we were creating and completely forget that we were working. Her character was very influential in my character's life, and that did carry over into real life. I think I'm one of millions of people who consider her to be one of their mentors, but I was just lucky enough to experience it first hand." "Beloved," 1998 Hulton Archive/Getty Images "Beloved," 1998 The horror-drama, based on the 1987 novel by Toni Morrison, starred Oprah as a former slave named Sethe, who is beset by ghosts (some literal) from her past. Directed by Jonathan Demme, "Beloved" wasn't a box-office smash, but it did mark another turning point for Oprah: According to an interview with Vogue, she found herself so enamored with that filmmaking experience that she almost left her talk show to act full-time. "Almost" being the imperative word here, but if she ever changes her mind, co-star Thandie Newton (in that same Vogue story) says Oprah is one for the ages. "I've worked with lots of good actors, and I know Oprah hasn't made many films. I was stunned," she said. "She's a very strong technical actress, and it's because she's so smart. She's acute. She's got a mind like a razor blade." "Lee Daniels' The Butler," 2013 Dave J Hogan/Getty Images "Lee Daniels' The Butler," 2013 She hadn't accepted a major role in 15 years, but Oprah came back in fine form for the "The Butler." The drama co-stars Oprah as Gloria Gaines, the wife of a White House servant (played by Forest Whitaker, pictured here with Oprah and director Lee Daniels), and she readily copped to her apprehensions about returning to acting. But according to Daniels, she nailed it. "She was magical," he said. "Selma," 2014 Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images "Selma," 2014 Oprah wouldn't let another 15 years pass by before securing her next acting role: In fact, it was little more than a year later that she played protester Annie Lee Cooper in the Martin Luther King Jr. drama "Selma." The film, which she also produced, would mark the first of many collaborations between her and "A Wrinkle in Time" director Ava DuVernay (pictured here with "Good Morning America" host Robin Roberts). "Greenleaf," 2016 Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival "Greenleaf," 2016 A staple of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), "Greenleaf" follows the dishy exploits of a seemingly angelic family running a megachurch in Memphis. The series, in which Oprah recurs as a former nightclub owner named Mavis McCready, marks a "Brewster Place" reunion of sorts: Star Lynn Whitfield appeared on the original miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place" alongside Oprah. (The two are pictured here with "Greenleaf" actor Keith David and actress Merle Dandridge.) "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," 2017 Paras Griffin "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," 2017 The Emmy-nominated HBO miniseries, based on a true story written by Rebecca Skloot, stars Oprah as a woman who discovers her mother's genetic material was harvested without her knowledge and used to create numerous medical advances. The miniseries earned mixed reviews from critics, though many hailed Oprah's performance as a bright spot.