Uproar over as Germans honor Cruise


DUSSELDORF, Germany -- Tom Cruise won one of Germany's oldest and most prestigious media prizes Thursday, taking home this year's Bambi award, presented to him in the Courage category at a gala in Dusseldorf.

"(Cruise) is using his ambition to make films happen that would not have been produced without him," the jury said in its decision, referring to "Valkyrie," the Bryan Singer-directed film about the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, which Cruise stars in and is executive producing.

The project has been a source of controversy in Germany because of Cruise's high-profile involvement with the Church of Scientology, a group considered a dangerous cult by many here.

Eva Longoria picked up this year's Bambi for best international actor. Her role as ambitious ex-model Gabrielle Solis on "Desperate Housewives," the jury said, has made Longoria "a legend in Germany."

German actor Armin Mueller-Stahl won the best national actor Bambi, while Sophia Loren was presented with a lifetime achievement award.

A special jury award went to the German two-part TV series "A Single Tablet," based on the pharmaceutical thalidomide scandal of the early 1960s in which thousands of babies were born crippled. German drugmaker Gruntha fought a legal war against the series before it was aired in the fall.

Other Bambi winners included Bon Jovi, who won for best music act, and the German women's soccer team, which received a Bambi for their World Cup-winning success this year.

Queen Rania of Jordania added a touch of regal elegance to this year's Bambi when she accepted her award honoring her work for the lives of children worldwide.

The Bambi, which had its 59th appearance this year, is presented by German publishing giant the Hubert Burda Media Group. It honors achievement in film, television and music as well as sports, fashion and social engagement. The ceremony was broadcast live on German public broadcaster ARD.