Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe rejected Oscars for rugby

RUSSELL Crowe rejected the chance to present at the Oscars in favour of watching a rugby league game. 

The 50-year-old actor declined an opportunity to hand out an accolade with Ryan Gosling - who he is shooting 2016 movie 'The Nice Guys' with - in Los Angeles in favour of heading to Merseyside, north west England, to watch South Sydney Rabbitohs, who he co-owns, play in the World Club Challenge tournament on Sunday night. 

He said: "I'm supposed to be presenting tonight with Ryan Gosling. But when they told me the date I was like, 'Oh, sorry, I've got a previous engagement.' "

Russell watched on as the Rabbitohs crushed British-based Super League champions St. Helens 39-0 at their own stadium and admitted he doesn't take too kindly to be interrupted when he is engrossed in a game. 

He added: "I'm always into the game, I'm not very active during the game. I just like to sit and watch it and many times over the years people have tried to ask me a question. They get brushed off pretty quick. 

"I like my football [rugby league], it only goes on for 80 minutes and you've got to watch everything that goes on.

"I do believe it's a wonderful sport. In some parts of the world it's completely unknown but every time I sit somebody down and explain the rules and show them some footage they convert straight away. 

"It's a fantastic sport. Probably the most exciting ball in hand sport there is."

Russell's Australian-based side won the Premiership title Down Under last year and the Hollywood actor admitted that while he expected to celebrate wildly, he simply felt a "deep satisfaction" come over him when they lifted the trophy. 

Speaking to BBC Sport, he added: "Over the years I've had so many daydreams and imaginings about what I would do in that situation if South Sydney actually won [the title]. 

"Would I drop to my knees and offer a prayer of thanks? Would I be delirious? Would I be screaming and yelling? In the moment all that happened was just a deep satisfaction came over me." 

But in turning down the Academy Awards, Russell missed out on seeing Eddie Redmayne take home the Best Actor gong for his role in 'The Theory of Everything'. 

Eddie will no doubt be hoping his victory, for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking, will put him among one of the favourite British Academy Award winners of all time. 

According to research carried out by Cineworld, the UK's leading cinema chain, Anthony Hopkins' Best Actor triumph in 1992 for 'Silence of the Lambs' means he is Brits' joint-favourite Oscar winner along with Colin Firth's 2011 Best Actor win for 'The King's Speech', both with 32 per cent.

But Eddie wasn't the person most Brits wanted to triumph at the star-studded ceremony at LA's Dolby Theater as that honour went to Rosamund Pike with 43 per cent keen for her to pick up a prize for her role in 'Gone Girl'. 

She was followed by Eddie's leading lady Felicity Jones - who portrayed Stephen's wife Jane in the movie - and Reese Witherspoon for her role in 'Wild'.

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