Russell Crowe to Do Double Duty as Australian Academy Awards Host

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Russell Crowe

Crowe will host the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts International awards in Los Angeles on Saturday, and then the main Australian awards in Sydney next week.

SYDNEY -- Russell Crowe will host two of the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts’ upcoming trio of awards ceremonies, starting with the AACTA International awards, to be held in Los Angeles on Saturday, Australia Day.

The Les Miserables star will then fly to Sydney to front the main awards ceremony Jan. 30, which will be televised on the Ten network.

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The third tier of the AACTA’s awards season is a Jan. 28 lunch where the craft award and the prestigious Raymond Longford Award for lifetime achievement will be handed out.

Crowe is stepping in to the host the events, following the withdrawal of local actor Hugh Sheridan, who has a scheduling conflict in the U.S. due to the TV pilot season. Crowe joins fellow Oscar winners Geoffrey Rush (AACTA president) and Cate Blanchett (Australian Film Institute-AACTA Ambassador) in the lineup of AACTA awards presenters.

AACTA CEO Damian Trewhella said Crowe has shown his commitment to the Australian Academy since its launch 18 months ago, initially as a presenter at the inaugural AACTA International Awards in L.A. in January 2012.

“Russell Crowe is a formidable talent whose work has been recognized through peer assessed awards the world over, including through the Oscars, BAFTAs and AFI Awards," Trewhella said. "That Russell is hosting two events for the Australian Academy in L.A. and Sydney within the space of a week attests to both his support of the Australian screen industry, and his leadership with AACTA as we promote a voice for the Australian industry in the U.S."

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The hosting role is familiar to Crowe: He also hosted the AFI Awards, AACTA’s predecessors, in 2005.

Crowe said in a statement: "The Australian Academy is making its mark in the States, and I’m equally as honored to represent the Australian industry in L.A. as host of AACTA’s International Awards, as I am to return home to celebrate the success of my peers at the second AACTA Awards ceremony in Sydney. The show format for the ceremony will be entertaining and fast-paced, whilst rightfully honoring the fantastic film and television our nation is producing."

Crowe will be reunited with his Les Miserables co-star Hugh Jackman at the Los Angeles event. Jackman is up for best actor at the AACTA International Awards.

Leading the nominations for the second annual AACTA Awards is indigenous hit musical The Sapphires, which was named on Wednesday as the top-grossing Australian film at the box office in 2012, taking AUS$14.5 million ($15.3 million) in its home territory.

The Sapphires is up for a total of 12 awards, including best film, where it is vying for the top prize against Jonathan Teplitzsky's Burning Man, Cate Shortland’s Lore and Kieran D’Arcy-Smith's Wish You Were Here.