BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- Russell Crowe was not present to accept his Golden Globe Award Sunday evening, choosing instead to remain in Australia to protect his family from the devastating fires that continue to rage in the country.
Crowe, who was born in New Zealand but also spent portions of his childhood in Australia, won the award for best actor in a limited series for his work in the Showtime series "The Loudest Voice."
Jennifer Aniston, who presented the award with co-star Reese Witherspoon, explained Crowe's absence and then read a prepared statement Crowe had sent in the event he won: "Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based. We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique, amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future. Thank you."
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As of Sunday, the fires across Australia had scorched an area twice the size of the state of Maryland, killing at least 24 people and destroying thousands of homes.
Crowe has addressed the bush fires on social media repeatedly throughout the fire season. He detailed his fundraising efforts, saying he would donate $5,000 to various New South Wales Rural Fire Service brigades fighting the blazes. He wrote: "I want to thank the volunteers all over the state and all over the country that work tirelessly to keep our communities safe."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.