Soccer stars steal show at Germany's Bambi Awards

BERLIN (Reuters Life!) - National and international celebrities including actor Orlando Bloom, soccer player Mesut Ozil and singer Beth Ditto took home Germany’s most coveted media prizes, known as the “Bambi Awards.”

A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2009, “Lord of the Rings” star Bloom won the Bambi Charity Award on Thursday night for his humanitarian work with children in some of the world’s poorest regions.

“He always makes time to travel to distant countries so he can draw attention to the destitution faced by children and the work done by charities,” the jury said, explaining its decision.

But it was Germany’s soccer heroes who stole the show moderated by “Sex and the City” star Sarah Jessica Parker in the Babelsberg Filmpark near Berlin on Thursday evening.

Turkish-born Real Madrid footballer Ozil was hailed as a prime example of successful integration into German society and won the prize in the “Integration” category.

“This is a great honor for me and I’m very happy,” he said. “Integration creates something new and makes for a more colorful Germany.”

Singer Shakira also presented German national soccer team coach Joachim Loew and his team with the jury’s “Special Prize” for the outstanding performance they put in at the World Cup in South Africa earlier this year, where Germany claimed third place.

Loew credited the whole team.

“The players did a great job,” he said. “They played with incredible enthusiasm and discipline.”

Explaining its decision the jury said: “German football has never been so young -- and it has seldom been as passionate and innovative as it was during the World Cup in South Africa.”

National trainer Andreas Koepke said the award was a “lucky charm” for the German national side’s next big challenge -- winning the European soccer Championship.

“Even the Spanish won’t be able to stop us,” he said. Spain won the World Cup.

Other members of the star-studded audience to be awarded a prize included U.S. singer Beth Ditto, who bagged the prize for “Pop International,” and British environmental activist Jane Goodall, who picked up the “Our Earth” award for her ongoing campaigns to protect the environment and endangered species.

Germany’s longest-serving former foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher was awarded the prestigious Millenium Bambi Award for his part in German reunification.

“His diplomatic skill played an important role in ending the Cold War and in restoring European unity,” the jury said.

The Bambi Awards are Germany’s most important media prizes and have been awarded every year since 1948 to “people with vision and creativity, whose outstanding successes and achievements have been reported in the media.”

Reporting by Reuters TV; Writing by Michelle Martin, editing by Paul Casciato