The actor, who has been widely accused of sexual abuse and is still facing charges in the UK, thanked the museum in his speech for having “the balls” to invite him.
The BBC reports Spacey was given the award for his “personal aesthetic and authorial contribution to the development of the art of drama”.
Spacey described feeling “surely blessed and grateful and humbled” in his speech, but did not specifically mention the allegations against him. Spacey has denied all allegations.
Although a US court ruled that Spacey did not sexually abuse Anthony Rapp, Spacey still faced a total of 12 sexual offences against four men in the UK.
The offences are said to have taken place between 2001 and 2005.
The actor, 63, appeared via video link at Southwark Crown Court for his plea and trial preparation hearing on Friday, January 13, only days before he accepted the award in Italy.
Spacey’s trial in the UK is scheduled for June 2023.