SYDNEY - Controversial Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe is still a Kiwi -- but it will not be long before the Sydney-based celebrity crosses to the dark side.

Auckland-born Crowe, trumpeted here as Australian when he wins acting accolades or a New Zealander if he loses a fight, was expected to become an official Australian on Wednesday in a live-to-air citizenship ceremony in Canberra.

However, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, today reported the ceremony was called off on the eve of Australia Day because formalities could not be organised in time.

Crowe was to become an Aussie at the Australia Day concert on the lawns of Parliament House.

But the ceremony -- set to be telecast live on Channel 10 as part of the concert coverage -- was canned.

"The producers did look into it as part of the telecast but the Government wasn't able to facilitate the process in time," a Ten spokeswoman said yesterday.

"He's keen but they couldn't do it in time. There are obviously certain protocols that need to be adhered to."

Crowe, who headlined the concert with his band The Ordinary Fear Of God, was spurred on by the crowd of 35,000 who chanted "go Rusty, go" to encourage him to swear his allegiance to the country he grew up in.

The Hollywood heavyweight told Ten he would officially become an Australian "within the next few weeks".

- NZPA