It seemed like Jenny's big moment.
Dressed in a bedazzled "Emotional Support" vest, the miniature donkey was led onstage at the 95th Academy Awards. Host Jimmy Kimmel introduced her as "one of the stars of 'Banshees of Inisherin.'"
"Not only is Jenny an actor, she’s a certified emotional support donkey, or at least that’s what we told the airline to get her on the plane from Ireland," Kimmel said. "So if you’re feeling upset, or you didn’t win or you’re anxious or you just love mules, feel free to come up and give her a hug.”
Kimmel pointed out Jenny's costars Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, who both looked happy to see her — Farrell blew the donkey a kiss, and Gleeson laughed and waved.
“Let’s get you back on that Spirit Airlines flight now, huh?” Kimmel said, turning back to the donkey.
The twist came backstage. "Banshees of Inisherin" director Martin McDonagh told the Los Angeles Times that Kimmel had used a stand-in: "It wasn’t Jenny. We never would have allowed that to happen."
It's an understandable sentiment. McDonagh reportedly grew so attached to the diminutive show-stealer that he made sure she could peacefully retire.
“Martin fell so in love with her that he never wanted her to work again,” trainer Rita Moloney told entertainment news site Vulture last year. “He asked if she could just do this movie, and then retire. Now she’s just a happy donkey running with other miniature donkeys... She’s just living the dream.”
Despite efforts by some entertainment outlets to see where Jenny ended up — The Hollywood Reporter gave it a good try but was eventually brushed off — the star herself was decidedly absent from awards season coverage.
The "Jenny" stand-in wasn't the only cinematic animal onstage at Hollywood's biggest night. Elizabeth Banks brought the creature from her “Cocaine Bear” to present the Oscar for best visual effects. Luckily for attendees, this bear was a person in a very large costume and not a drug-fueled carnivore.