European Film Awards: Costa-Gavras, Greek Director of 'Missing,' to Get Lifetime Honor

European Film Academy

The master of the political thriller, whose English-language movies include 'Music Box' and 'Betrayed,' will get the honor in Seville, Spain, on Dec. 15.

Greek director Costa-Gavras, the master of the political thriller, will receive a lifetime achievement honor at this year's European Film Awards.

The legendary filmmaker behind Missing, Z, Music Box and Betrayed, will be honored by the European Film Academy at the 31st European Film Awards on Dec. 15 in Seville, Spain.

"With this award the European Film Academy wishes to pay special tribute to an outstanding director and a personality with a strong political voice who is not only deeply respected by his colleagues but also celebrated by audiences worldwide," the Academy said.

Costa-Gavras is just the fifth filmmaker to receive the honor. The previous recipients are Manoel de Oliveira, Michel Piccoli, Michael Caine and Andrzej Wajda.

Born in Greece in 1933, Costa-Gavras emigrated to France when he was 22 and has lived and worked there ever since. Among the most successful of a generation of politically active European filmmakers, he has managed to combine controversial political issues with the slick production and commercial approach of mainstream cinema.

His most famous films take on right-wing dictatorships and extremists, whether in Greece during military rule (Z), in Latin America during the height of the Cold War (Missing, State of Siege) or among white supremacists in the United States (Betrayed).

His greatest success came in the period from the early 1970s to early 1980s. Z (1969) was nominated for five Oscars and won two, namely for best film editing and best foreign-language film. Missing (1982), starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek, picked up four Oscar nominations, including for best picture, and won one, for Costa-Gavras and Donald E. Stewart, for best adapted screenplay. Jessica Lange picked up a best actress Oscar nomination for her role in Music Box (1989) as a lawyer defending her own father, who has been accused of war crimes.

Costa-Gavras will be a guest of honor at the European Film Awards ceremony to accept his award.