Review: Same Old Oscars

Neither rain, nor hail, nor bursts of sunlight could keep the actors from their appointed rounds on the red carpet at this year's 82nd annual Academy Awards.

Yes, fans, the Oscars went off without a hitch as they always do. Fully prepared for the intermittently inclement weather, the arrivals runway leading to the Kodak Theater was covered in clear plastic tenting and the carpet doused in dazzling beauties and handsome hunks, as it often is.

The stars declared their unbridled excitement to be in attendance and claimed to feel even better than they looked, as they always do. What an exciting evening it was to be with new producers, a new seating plan, a younger look and feel, two hosts and, most important, a promise that there would be no dance interpretations of original songs. Yes, this year's Oscars were going to be different.

VIDEO: Producer Elinor Burkett hijacks an acceptance speech for best documentary short.Play

If not for Elinor Burkett's "Kanye moment," it would have been the same old show. Burkett, the producer of the short documentary "Music by Prudence," rushed to the stage to interrupt Roger Ross Williams, who was already accepting the award for the film about a disabled girl from Zimbabwe.

In an interview with, Burkett said Williams' 87-year-old mother "took her cane and blocked me. So I couldn't get up there very fast."

When Burkett finally got on stage, she said the film was her idea and that Williams had never been to Zimbabwe. "What happened was, the director and I had a bad difference over the direction of the film that resulted in a lawsuit that has settled amicably out of court," Burkett told Salon.

She said they weren't able to discuss ahead of time who would be the person to speak if they won.

Williams said his mother got up to hug him, not block Burkett. "Only one person is allowed to accept the award," he told Salon. "I was the director, and she was removed from the project nearly a year ago, but she was able to still qualify as a producer on the project, and be an official nominee."

He said Burkett was "very angry. She actually removed herself from the project, because she wanted more creative control."

She pulled a Kanye, according to Williams. "And it's a shame, because this is such a positive, happy film," he said.

The show opened with a musical number. Neil Patrick Harris launched the night's festivities with some off-key, snappy lyrics, a lot of dancers, too much pomp and not enough circumstance.

Wait a minute ... an opening musical number ... that sounds familiar.

The co-hosts, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin came out with their set-up joke, set-up joke duo-logue. OK.

The first award presented was for best supporting actor. OK.

On it went. After 3½ hours, Tom Hanks, governor of the Academy, frantically presented the award for best picture as the show was running over. He was in such a hurry he didn't even bother to list the nominees. He opened the envelope and declared the winner to be "The Hurt Locker." A few quick thank-you's from the director and producers. Martin and Baldwin came out to roll off one more line each. They thanked everyone. The show was over.

Déjà Vu?

Unfortunately, try as they might, producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic couldn't deliver on any of their pre-Oscar promises. They did change the seating by bringing the audience closer to the stage, but that only made for more discomfort when the jokes failed or when someone stumbled with the teleprompter (Cameron Diaz with Steve Carrell).

As for the youth movement, it barely warranted a stir when Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart appeared to present a montage of horror flicks. Stewart was so bland, she made Dame Helen Mirren seem giddy.

Martin and Baldwin were able to riff on a few actors, but that's nothing new, and, at times, they seemed to channel "Laverne and Shirley" more than a modern-day comic duo such as, say, Chelsea and Chewy. And interpretive dance ... it was in there, same as before.

Perhaps the only thing that could have saved it would have been surprising winners. Nope.

The odds-on favorites won: Waltz, Mo'nique, Bridges, Bullock, Bigelow and "Locker."

The Bigelow moment could have been a surprise seeing as she is the first female in history to win the best director Oscar, but Barbra Streisand came out to present the category, and so it seemed a given that when the envelope was opened, Kathryn Bigelow's name would be announced.

Despite trying every which way to shake up the snow globe that surrounds Oscar, inevitably, all settled to the bottom of the dome time and time again.

The lesson here? You can't fight gravity, even in Hollywood.