Richard Jenkins did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Robert Doback in Step Brothers.
And by that I mean Step Brothers is about two idiot man children (Will Ferrell, and John C. Reilly) who come to live together as such a titular pair when their respective single parents are married while both still live at home with them. Reilly's father is Richard Jenkins's Robert Doback who often seemed to be my own personal representation during this film. The film itself following this pattern of being kind of funny then really annoying then kind of funny then really annoying and continuing in that savage circle throughout. One aspect that differs from that pattern is Richard Jenkins, who is continually on some sort of point throughout the film. Where his counterpart, Ferrell's mother in the film, played by Mary Steenburgen still mothers her overgrown son, there is less of a cordiality within the character of Robert which Jenkins beautifully realizes. His performance is essentially this slowly erupting nearly apocalyptic volcano of passive aggression that becomes just full grown aggression at his two "sons". Jenkins in a way becomes this trick artist always hitting his marks even when the scene does not. He is consistently hilarious in creating such a raw, and to the point exasperation in each and every one of his reactions. An exasperation that only grows in every moment and settles itself in this intensity of this certain loathing that is particularly great in their Christmas dinner where Jenkins reveals a man retching in the sheer degree of his intolerance. This almost an antidote at times because of Jenkins representing a proper reaction to when the antics are not working at any level, and brings some comic gold by how little "playing up" Jenkins does.
The most consummate professional Jenkins's real intensity he brings is what makes it so funny, as he makes it seem as though Mr. Doback's spirit honestly is seeming to break to his very core. This naturally leads to events that leads the sons to be kicked out of the house, and finally fulfill their roles as adults. Of course that all gets twisted for the climax where at the Catalina wine mixer they must cover for a cover band, but not without a few words of wisdom from old Mr. Doback. This is where he has a change of heart to reveal his own juvenile dream to be a T-Rex. Honestly I can't praise Jenkins enough for the amount of conviction he brings in this most unorthodox speech. He even makes it work in context with the rest of the character, but showing it as almost this mad recall of a past lost dream. In turn it is hilarious as Jenkins acts out his dream a bit by again how seriously he plays it. Jenkins wants you to believe in Mr. Doback's dream, and you'll believe a man can't believe he could be a T-rex. Jenkins inflicts proper hilarity to that moment, and soon afterwards through the sheer eagerness of his delivery as he encourages his son to play his heart out with "Rock the fuck out of those drums Dale". Jenkins steals this film with ease, which some might balk at in terms of an accomplishment, but Jenkins doesn't only steal the film he just sprinkles a little something worthwhile into every one of his scenes.