The Cleveland Indians must now be wishing that pitcher John Axford can do to batters what he did to his Oscar predictions.
The Canadian-born reliever, who was raised in Port Dover, Ont., went a perfect 18 and 0 with his Oscar predictions.
“When I was finally 16 for 16 I think I just assumed that I already had it locked because I was pretty sure that McConaughey and 12 Years a Slave were going to win,” Axford told reporters on Monday.
No one expects anyone to pitch a perfect game on Oscars night, especially a professional athlete, so the novelty of Axford’s accomplishments went viral on Monday.
But the 30-year-old is a huge movie buff who earned a bachelor’s degree in film, television and theatre from Notre Dame. He’s got a solid record as an Academy Awards predictor. He went 14 for 15 last year and 11 for 15 in 2012.
Axford said in a post on his Facebook page, where he listed his predictions, that he added more picks this year for the challenge.
The toughest pick for him was best director, Axford told reporters.
“I really would have in all honesty loved to have seen Steve McQueen win,” he said. “But like I said on my Twitter feed and Facebook, I do have a soft spot for Alfonso Cuaron.”
Cuaron’s 2006 film, Children of Men, is one of Axford’s favourite movies, the pitcher said.
“Have you always been a big movie guy?” one reporter asked.
“I loved it growing up. I think a lot of that has to do with my father,” Axford said. “Going on baseball or hockey trips, coming back from trips he would stop off at different stores and try to pick up some older movies. We’d watch together a lot of old westerns and things like that. I think that's really what got me into film.”
That love of film led to him to his major in college, although he was never completely committed to pursuing a career in the industry. “I did back it up with a masters of sport administration, so obviously I’m leaving things open,” he said.
Many Oscars predictions aren’t very difficult, Axford said.
“If you follow the awards season enough you can see what happens at the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the BAFTAs, things like that and you can kind of predict – if Matthew McConaughey has won every award along the way he’s probably going to win at the Academy Awards.”
But very few people can go 18 for 18 with their Oscars predictions. Of course, that doesn’t count as a true perfect game because it leaves out several categories.
With his success so far, however, Axford is looking for a new challenge.
“I will probably do all of them next year,” he said.