Instead, as presenter Jennifer Aniston told the crowd of celebrities and those watching at home, Crowe was "at home in Australia, protecting his family from the devastating bushfires."
The Australian actor, who won the award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie for his performance as former Fox News chair Roger Ailes in The Loudest Voice, owns property in New South Wales, where fires have been raging for months. One of his properties near the town of Coffs Harbour suffered extensive damage in November.
Although Crowe couldn't be there on Sunday to accept his award, Anniston read a message out on his behalf.
"Make no mistake," she said on behalf of Crowe, "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 and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future. Thank you."
In a video shared on social media, Crowe thanked his castmates for their work on The Loudest Voice and shared a video of his escape truck. "We keep this truck ready and prepared in case things get crazy," said Crowe, as he showcased the truck's water tanks, hoses, and fire blankets.
"All the stuff you need for fighting fires," he said, ending the video on a shot of a Golden Globe award.
Crowe was not the only actor to make reference to the bushfire disaster sweeping Australia, which has currently destroyed more than 1,000 homes, killed more than 20 people, wiped out hundreds of millions of animals, and released hundreds of millions of metric tons of carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
"Australia, I love you," began Ellen DeGeneres as she accepted an honorary award. "My heart goes out to everyone who is suffering in Australia, all the animals that we've lost."
Patricia Arquette, too, cited the Australian fires as she accepted a Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie award for The Act. The actor said Jan. 5, 2020, would not be remembered for the Globes but for the US–Iran tensions following Washington's assassination of a top Iranian general, as well as "the continent of Australia on fire."
"So while I love my kids so much, I beg of us all to give them a better world," she said. "For our kids and their kids, we have to vote in 2020, and we have to beg and plead for everyone we know to vote in 2020."
Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge also announced she would auction off the Australian-designed outfit she wore to the ceremony to raise money for bushfire relief.
The British actor said she was "really proud" to be part of the "amazing plan."
Host Ricky Gervais even ended the night's broadcast by telling the celebrities to "please donate to Australia."
Cate Blanchett — speaking on behalf of her fellow Australians in the room on Sunday night, who included Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, and Toni Collette — said, "I know we're all very grateful to the callouts to our fellow compatriots suffering under the bushfires."
"I would just like to amplify that by saying I wanted to do a special callout to the volunteer firefighters who have been at the center of battling the climate disaster that is facing Australia," she added. "Of course when one country faces a climate disaster, we all face a climate disaster so we're in it together."
Celebrities like Pink and Lizzo have also used their star power to help raise millions of dollars in aid for the victims and to assist firefighters.