The Oscar-positioning film festival will not hold its 2020 edition amid the global pandemic.

By Joey Nolfi
July 14, 2020 at 04:23 PM EDT

Awards season has taken a major hit as one of the most influential Oscar-positioning film festivals has canceled its 2020 edition amid coronavirus concerns.

The Telluride Film Festival announced Tuesday it will not move forward with a 2020 event. A press release announcing the decision indicated that "a very good plan to put on the show safely" was in place until roughly one week ago, "but with a seemingly unending number of new cases of Covid-19 and the national chaos around it, even the best strategy is threatened by this out of control environment."

"No matter how much many of us wear our masks and observe social distancing protocols, the pandemic has worsened rather than improved and the health and safety of you - our passholders, filmmakers, the people of Telluride and its surrounding areas - cannot be compromised," the statement continues, further indicating that Telluride has been working cooperatively with other influential fall festivals like the New York Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Venice Film Festival to "champion global cinema" before encouraging fans to "seek out and discover the titles we've selected for this year's program" whenever "they're made available on a wider basis" or elsewhere on the festival circuit.

Typically held over Labor Day weekend, the Telluride Film Festival serves as a key launching pad for films hoping to strike Oscar gold. The Colorado-based event regularly thrusts contenders into the race at large, often as the first stop on the fall festival trail, with eventual Best Picture winners and nominees like Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, Argo, Gravity, 12 Years a SlaveMoonlight, The Shape of Water, Marriage Story, Judy, and Roma having premiered (or simply screened) at Telluride over the last decade.

Previously, the Toronto International Film Festival had announced its intention to carry on with socially distant physical events and screenings as part of its 2020 lineup, though that is now in question after the city of Toronto officially canceled all public festivals through Sept. 30.

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