The Force fails to get new 'Star Wars' movie into top Oscars race

Moviegoers wait before the first showing of the movie "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at the entrance of a movie theatre in Tokyo, Japan, December 18, 2015. REUTERS/Issei Kato

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” may be the third-biggest film ever at the global box office, but it failed to nab a best picture Oscar nomination on Thursday.

The seventh installment of the space adventure saga created by George Lucas did get five nominations, but they were limited to original score and technical categories like visual effects and editing.

Just a month after its release, “The Force Awakens” has taken $1.76 billion at the world box-office, according to movie studio Walt Disney, which brought the franchise in 2012 for $4 billion. The film is on course to challenge 1997 romance “Titanic“‘s $2.18 billion haul to become the second-most successful movie of all time.

But popularity has rarely been a recipe for Oscar success. The 6,000 or so voters who make up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have traditionally disdained big action-adventure movies in favor of smaller art-house fare such as “The Artist,” “Birdman,” and “The King’s Speech” when choosing the best picture.

Since 1990, only the 2003 fantasy epic “Lord of the Rings; The Return of the Kings” snapped that trend to win the top Oscar honor, although “Avatar,” still the biggest box-office movie of all time, received a best picture nomination in 2009.

“The Force Awakens,” however, won almost universal praise from critics, and hopes were high that it might find a place in the best picture race this year.

Yet on Thursday, Academy voters preferred action adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road,” giving it a best picture nod and nominations in nine other categories.

The first “Star Wars” film, released in 1977, is the only one in the franchise to receive a best picture Oscar nomination, although it lost out that year to “Annie Hall.”

The handful of Academy Award honors for the previous six “Star Wars” movies have been in technical categories.

Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn