"The Fighter" tells the story of "Irish" Micky Ward, a boxer from a tough Boston neighborhood.
Mark Wahlberg plays the title role.
"This movie is the story of Mark, in many respects," said Russell. "I mean, he's from a very similar family in the same area and Mark had to overcome many obstacles, and he always looked up to Micky."
Wahlberg wanted to make this movie for years, promising his fighter friend it would happen. It finally did, with Mark also serving as one of the film's producers.
"By him doing this just, you know, showed me he's a man of his word," said Ward. "He's a great person, a great friend and I just can't thank him enough making the movie come true."
Dreams seem to be coming true for lots of people involved in this movie.
Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams are up for acting Oscars. Wahlberg is nominated for producing. And Russell is up for best director after having some ups and downs in his film career.
"So to now be back up, number one, I'll tell you what: I want to treat it with respect and I don't want to take it for granted and I don't want to, I don't want to blow it," said Russell. "I am very proud of this movie. I think it's my best movie.
"And what these guys teach me in the ring is, you know, don't ever be too big to be taught what you're not doing or what you could do better."
For all the family drama you see played out in "The Fighter" the man who really wore the gloves says fighting is one thing, family is another.
"I never gave up in the ring, ever," said Ward. "I would never give up outside the ring and I'm certainly not going to give up on my family."
Mickey says his brother, Dicky, played by Christian Bale in the film, is doing well.
And David says there's been talk about turning "The Fighter" into a TV series.