Oscar-nominated drama American Sniper has leapfrogged action blockbuster Taken 3 to sit at the top of the U.K. box office chart.

The movie, starring Bradley Cooper, has been shrouded in controversy in the U.S. since its release amid allegations it glamourises military conflict and could spark an increase in threats against Muslims in the States.

American Sniper experienced a disappointing opening weekend in the U.K. earlier this month (Jan15), limping home in second place, but in its second weekend (23-25Jan15), the movie leapfrogged Liam Neeson's Taken sequel to top the rundown, with ticket sales of $4 million (£2.5 million).

Taken 3 boasted box office receipts of $2.8 million (£1.8 million), and American Sniper's Oscars rival The Theory of Everything was a non-mover at number three, with $2.4 million (£1.5 million).

The top five was rounded out by another Academy Awards contender, Into The Woods, with $2 million (£1.3 million) and sci-fi movie Ex MAChina, with $1.6 million (£1 million).

American Sniper will go head-to-head with Eddie Redmayne's The Theory of Everything for the Best Picture prize at Hollywood's big night next month (Feb15), while Cooper will face the Brit in the Best Actor category.

Meryl Streep is in the running for Best Supporting Actress for her role as The Witch in Into The Woods.