A special guest joined host Jimmy Kimmel during the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday (Mar. 12). Jimmy, 55, brought out Jenny to donkey from The Banshees of Inisherin, to a round of applause from all those at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Two people who were happiest to see Jenny were Colin Farrell and his son, Henry, who accompanied the Banshees actor to the ceremony. The 13-year-old flashed a smile as Colin was amazed to see his costar. “Not only is Jenny an actor, she’s a certified emotional support donkey,” said Jimmy. “At least, that’s what we told the airline to get her on the airplane from Ireland.”
— Entertainment Tonight (@etnow) March 13, 2023
Jimmy also pointed out Jenny’s costar, Brendan Gleeson. [Spoiler Alert] Jenny’s death in Banshees was pivotal in the film. Brendan’s character cut off his own finger as a warning to Colin’s character, and Jenny choked to death after eating it. “You want to say ‘thank you’?” asked Jimmy before getting Jenny back on the Spirit flight back to Ireland.
Update: Vulture reported that it wasn’t the donkey that played Jenny in the film. Just a little bit of movie (award show) magic.
“Martin [McDonagh, Banshees director] fell so in love with her that he never wanted her to work again,” her former trainer, Rita Moloney of Fircroft Animal Actors, told Vulture in October. “He asked if she could just do this movie, and then retire. Now she’s just a happy donkey running with other miniature donkeys. I only saw her about three weeks ago down in County Carlow, and she’s looking fine, fit, and healthy. She’s just living the dream.”
— Vulture (@vulture) March 13, 2023
When speaking about viral Oscar moments, the one that will forever be atop of the list will be the infamous Will Smith /Chris Rock slap. Smith earned a ten-year ban from the Oscars for hitting Rock in the face after the comedian joked about Jada Pinkett-Smith. Jimmy made a comment about the slap during his opening monologue. “We want you to have fun, we want you to feel safe. Most importantly, we want me to feel safe. So we have strict policies in place,” said the host. “If anyone in this theater commits an act of violence at any point during this show, you will be awarded the Oscar for Best Actor and permitted to give a 19-minute long speech.”
Jimmy Kimmel also made a crack about it before Questlove and Riz Ahmed came out to give the Oscar for Best Documentary, the same award that Rock was presenting when he got slapped. Kimmel said, “Hopefully, it goes off this time without a hitch, or at least, without Hitch,” referencing Will Smith’s 2005 movie, Hitch.
Ahead of the 2023 ceremony, the show’s executive producer Molly McNearney said that ignoring “The Slap” would only draw more attention to it. “We’re going to acknowledge it, and then we’re gonna move on,” she said in a pre-ceremony press conference, per Variety. “We don’t want to make this year about last year. It’s certainly something we can and will address in a comedic fashion.” Executive producer and showrunner Ricky Kirshner also said that the show’s format had been shifted up, so fans can expect the unexpected. “There’s no more ‘This is what we used to do.’ We’ve rethought the show, and we’ve got presenters that make sense for the categories,” he said.