A rare posthumous honor went to director Christoph Schlingensief at Germany’s prestigious Bambi awards ceremony. Plaudits also went to rocker Udo Lindenberg, a former foreign minister and Germany’s World Cup soccer team.
The Bambi awards honor recipients across many fields
Theater and art director Christoph Schlingensief received a rare posthumous honor at Germany's most prestigious awards ceremony, the Bambis.
The award, for culture, was only the second in the history of the Bambis to recognize a personality after their death.
Schlingensief had been chosen for the award before his death
German actor Michael Mendl led an on-stage tribute to Schlingensief, who died at the age of 49 in August after a battle with lung cancer.
Mendl revealed that the prize had been allocated to Schlingensief - also famed for his controversial performance art events - at the beginning of the year, adding that Schlingensief would have been "delighted" to receive it.
The awards - which have been presented since 1948 - honor achievement in numerous fields including film, television, music and sports, and were held in the eastern German city of Potsdam.
A lifetime achievement plaudit went to the Udo Lindenberg - for being a pioneer in making rock songs with lyrics in German fashionable.
"What once was unheard of, deemed 'uncool' and impossible - he dared to do," the jury had said in its reasoning for the award. "With his rock songs in German, Lindenberg was a pioneer in 1970s popular music culture," it added.
In the year of the 20th anniversary celebration of the reunification of Germany, the country's longest-serving foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher - who was in office between 1974 and 1992 - was rewarded for his contribution to the process with the Bambi Millennium prize.
Looking back in time
Receiving the award from current Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Genscher looked back at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Actors from the series 'Um Himmels Willen' picked up an honor chosen by public vote
"Never in the continent's checkered history were Europeans so close in their hopes, wishes and desires as the those wonderful weeks of the year 1989,” a clearly moved Genscher told the audience.
A public vote chose German TV comedy show "Um Himmels Willen" ("For the Love of God"), set around a Bavarian convent, as the best television series.
Best female actor was Hannah Herzsprung from the successful TV miniseries Weissensee, named after a district in the former East Berlin and dubbed a Cold War Romeo and Juliet about a secret police officer and a female dissident.
The prize for best male actor went to Florian David Fitz for his part in the film "Vincent Will Meer," ("Vincent Wants to Sea") about a young man who suffers from Tourette's syndrome.
German national team coach Joachim Loew and his team were rewarded for their performance in this year's football World Cup in South Africa.
'Fair play, fun and enjoyment'
In his acceptance speech, Loew praised the team, who exceeded early expectations by claiming third place in the tournament.
Loew paid tribute to the values displayed by his team
"The players achieved a tremendous amount," said Loew. "They demonstrated important values such as discipline, respectful behavior, fair play, fun and enjoyment."
There was a special award for team member Mesut Oezil, whose family is of Turkish origin, and who received recognition for his role in promoting integration in Germany.
"It is a special honor for me," Oezil said on receiving the award. "I am very happy. Through integration something new, and a more colorful Germany, is emerging."
Prizes for Hollywood actor, British scientist
In the charity category, Hollywood actor Orlando Bloom was recognized for his charity work for children's aid organization UNICEF. Meanwhile, British primatologist turned activist Jane Goodall was rewarded with an environmental prize for her work campaigning for threatened species.
Special guest of honor at the televised ceremony was American actress and Sex and the City star Sarah-Jessica Parker, who received a "surprise award" from the jury.
International pop award recipients were the US band Gossip, who enjoys a strong following in Germany.
The pop prize for German acts went to Unheilig (Unholy), a hard rock band from Aachen.
Author: Richard Connor (AP, dpa, SID)
Editor: Matt Zuvela