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Axford’s an Oscar whiz

After converting 49 consecutive saves from 2011 to early 2012, John Axford has another streak going.

The Cleveland Indians closer – and the first former Canisius College player to make the big leagues since Billy Goeckel played for the 1899 Phillies – went 18 for 18 on his Academy Awards picks.

Axford made the projections after the Indians’ game Sunday on his Facebook page.

Last year Axford was correct on 14 of his 15 Oscar selections; he picked Steven Spielberg as best director for “Lincoln” and Ang Lee won for “Life of Pi.”

“It was fun,” Axford said Monday. “I was following it online, not even watching it on TV. I was getting updates from people on Twitter. ‘You’re 3 for 3, 5 for 5.’ It was pretty neat. By the time it got 14 for 14, I said, ‘Wow, I picked 14 right last year.’ It definitely got a little more intense after that. When it got 16 for 16, I assumed I had it locked.”

There are 24 Oscar categories, and Axford said on Twitter he will predict them all next year.

Traded from Milwaukee to St. Louis, Axford left the Cardinals and agreed in December to a $4.5 million, one-year deal with Cleveland, where he will replace Chris Perez as closer.

Axford, who was born in Canada, studied film and television at Notre Dame.

Oscars’ audience up 6 percent

Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony, featuring host Ellen DeGeneres, got its biggest audience in 10 years.

The 86th Academy Awards, telecast on ABC, drew 43 million viewers on average, according to Nielsen, up about 6 percent from last year’s show, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, which ended up with 40.4 million viewers.

The viewership record for the Oscars was set in 1998, when the gala drew 55.3 million people. That was the year the blockbuster “Titanic” won 11 Oscars, including the award for best picture.

This marks the third year in a row the awards gala’s total audience has grown.

The three-hour, 11-minute telecast notched a rating of 12.9 in the key 18-49 demographic, in which a ratings point equals about 1.3 million viewers. Last year’s Oscars nabbed a rating of 13.

Arby’s wins Pharrell’s hat

Arby’s has won the bid for Pharrell’s famous hat.

The fast-food restaurant announced Sunday it paid $44,100 for the Vivienne Westwood hat, made famous when Pharrell wore it at the Grammy Awards in January.

The Arby’s logo uses a design similar to the brown fedora, which became a trending topic on Twitter after Pharrell sported it.

The producer-rapper-singer put the hat on eBay two weeks ago. The earnings will support his charity From One Hand to Another.

Pharrell tweeted thanks to the buyer Sunday, to which Arby’s replied: “You’re welcome. We’re HAPPY to support a great cause & get our hat back.”

Pharrell wore a similar hat when he performed at the Academy Awards on Sunday.

His No. 1 hit “Happy” was nominated for best original song.