Richard Jaeckel received his only Oscar nomination for portraying Joe Ben Stamper in Sometimes A Great Notion.
This is the sort of nomination that just boggles the mind because one must ask why exactly did anyone in the academy say wow now that there is a performance that needs to be recognized. Especially since Sometimes a Great notion only received two nominations total, so this was not one of those bonus nominations like say Joe Mantell in Marty, I guess they wanted to nominate long time character actor Jaeckel I suppose but certainly seems quite strange in the end.
Joe Ben really is not at all prominent in the story of the Stampers he in the end is just one of the Stampers crew and in terms of the story is mostly just makes the occasional comment or reaction that is in no way substantial. He neither makes the decisions in the family or the arguments in the family. He really is part of the family he merely acts as just part of the family with his occasional small little reaction here or there that does not make the biggest of differences.
Joe Ben really is a non entity for most of the film until finally in one scene where he is held in place by a tree. Jaeckel is quite realistic in this scene and effectively brings out the emotions in the single scene. Other than this important scene Jaeckel just is around scenes never becoming the focus or making himself the focus. He most certainly never bad for a moment in the film, but there is just so little ever asked from Jaeckel in the part of Joe Ben Stamper that he could never really be more than just adequate.