The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg has posted an oral-history piece about how Harvey Weinstein‘s hard-charging and in some ways ethically shady Best Picture campaign for Shakespeare in Love overwhelmed the campaign for DreamWorks’ Saving Private Ryan.

It’s called “‘Harvey Always Wanted More’: Weinstein, Spielberg and the Oral History of the Nastiest Oscar Campaign Ever.”

Hollywood Elsewhere doesn’t dispute that Weinstein’s Oscar-season blitzkreig was a key factor in Shakespeare in Love winning the Best Picture Oscar, but I’ve always suspected that the main reason was the fact that Saving Private Ryan caused its own defeat.

One, Ryan actually did peak during the 24-minute D-Day Omaha Beach sequence, and two, director Steven Spielberg CHEATED HIS ASS OFF with that early time-jump cut that suggests the old coot having an emotional breakdown in the Omaha Beach cemetery is either Tom Hanks or Edward Burns.

Here’s how the late William Goldman put it in ‘late ’98:

“Hanks is dead, the awful pretentious voice of the actor playing General Marshall is treacling away, we hear ole Honest Abe’s letter again and I am now waiting for the shot of Ed Burns with the big-boobed girls back at the cemetery.

“Why do I know that is coming? Well, only two members of the squad are left [at the end of the film], Burns and the cowardly translator, and I know it can’t be him because he was not with Hanks and the squad during the twenty-four minutes of glory at the start of the film. So it has to be Burns standing there among the graves.

“Now the morphing shot comes, and I am looking at the old face of Matt Damon at the cemetery.

“Well, you can’t do that. Don’t you see, he wasn’t fucking there. He knew nothing of the attack on the beach, knew nothing of the odyssey that followed, and he never had a chance to hear about it. The only spare moment he had was when he was telling us all about his brothers and the ugly girl and setting the barn on fire.

“When he was great, and he was great, Spielberg was a phenomenal storyteller. All gone. That or he doesn’t care.”

Here’s how I put it last year:

“The greatest offense comes from Harrison Young‘s awful over-acting as the 75-year-old Ryan. His face is stricken with guilt as he shuffles through the Omaha Beach cemetery, and he walks like a 90-year-old afflicted with rheumatism.

“In ’87 I visited this same cemetery with my father, who’d fought against the Japanese during WWII. He was quietly shaken, he later said, but he held it in because that’s what former Marines do under these circumstances. They show respect by behaving in a disciplined, soldier-like way. They don’t moan and weep and flail around like some acting-class student.

“I almost lost it when the teary-eyed Young collapsed upon the grave of Cpt. Miller (Tom Hanks). ‘Oh, for God’s sake!’ I said out loud. ‘Show a little dignity…be a man!’ Kathleen Byron‘s performance as white-haired Mrs. Ryan is almost as bad. All she does is eyeball her doddering, bent-over husband. The whole family, in fact, is staring at the old coot like he’s about to keel over from a heart attack.

“Then comes one of the most dishonest cuts in motion picture history, going from a close-up of Young’s [i.e., Matt Damon‘s] eyes to the D-Day landing craft carrying the Ryan squad — Tom Hanks, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns, Barry Pepper, Adam Goldberg, Vin Diesel — as they approach Omaha beach.

“Matt Damon‘s Ryan (Young’s 21-year-old counterpart) won’t meet them for another couple of days, when they’re inland a few miles.”