Veteran Polish film-maker Andrzej Wajda will be presented with an honorary Oscar at this year's Academy Award ceremony which takes place in Los Angeles on March 26.

Wajda has been selected for the honour for a career that has included some of the most important European films of the post-war era including The Maids Of Wilko (1979), Danton (1982) and his ground-breaking political duo Man Of Marble (1977) and Man Of Iron (1981) which were controversial portraits of the Polish state government. He first came to prominence with his classic World War II trio A Generation (1955), Canal (1957) and what is probably his masterpiece Ashes And Diamonds (1958). His most recent film was last year's historical epic Pan Tadeusz, a film adaptation of the famous Polish novel by Adam Mickiewicz.

Although they have never won the Oscar itself, Wajda-directed films have been nominated in the best foreign language category three times - Land Of Promise in 1975, The Maids Of Wilko in 1979 and Man Of Iron in 1981.

Academy president Robert Rehme said in a statement: "Andrzej Wajda has repeatedly brought the world's attention to European cinema. By showing both the loftiest heights and the darkest depths of the European soul, he has inspired all of us to reexamine the strength of our common humanity. Wajda belongs to Poland, but his films are part of the cultural treasure of all mankind."