Istvan Svabo was the first Hungarian director to win an Oscar (Although a Hungarian-American director, Michael Curtiz [Mihaly Kertesz], also won an Oscar previously for directing Casablanca). He received the award for his 1981 movie Mephisto. In January 2006, it became public that he had been an agent of the III/III department, a former communist agency of interior intelligence. After the revolution in 1956, he was blackmailed and forced to cooperate, though later he was considered willingly cooperative. Allegedly, he wrote reports about fellow Hungarian directors, actors and actresses such as Miklós Jancsó, Mari Töröcsik, Károly Mécs. A well-known Hungarian journalist Zsolt Bayer has said the following about it: “This is the time to re-watch Mephisto. It has just become obvious that Szabo directed his own life in the movie, masterfully.” Szabo has never denied the charges and considers his agent work heroic and needful, claiming he saved the life of a friend sentenced to death for his involvement in the revolution of 1956.