Roma, Alfonso Cuarón’s latest masterpiece, wears several hats: It’s part homage to his Mexican upbringing, part love poem to his nanny and part examination of the political and social schisms of his country in the 1970s.

It’s also something of a Hollywood double agent.

The black-and-white film, which is garnering substantial Oscar buzz, underscores the latest power struggle over who holds sway over the industry’s biggest movies: streaming services or theaters. The question is nothing new for Hollywood, but the film marks the fiercest battle yet in the struggle for audiences, whose attendance has flat-lined in recent years.

To qualify for Oscar consideration, a film must make at least a two-week run in theaters in New York or Los Angeles. So Netflix, which produced Roma, gave it a brief vanity run on the big screen before returning it to the small, setting up a duel between traditional exhibitors and executives at streaming outlets, which have been expanding as competitors such as Netflix, Amazon and Apple ramp up original content.

Essentially, Roma needed movie theaters to battle movie theaters.

And while streaming outlets have already changed the landscape for television awards (Netflix won seven Emmys at last year’s awards, while Amazon claimed five), Oscar remains the gold standard among laurels.

Already, skirmishes for smaller Oscars have broken out between studios and streamers. Amazon and Casey Affleck picked up a Best Actor Oscar for 2016’s Manchester by the Sea, while Allison Janney won Best Supporting Actress for I, Tonya last year after Neon productions turned down Netflix in favor of a theatrical run.

But a Best Picture statue could alter the landscape permanently. Studios and actors prefer the big-screen experience and argue it remains the art’s truest form. And a Best Picture nomination is no guarantee for Roma (although it’s one of the year’s best-reviewed movies, with a 96% thumbs-up rating on Rotten Tomatoes). The film is subtitled with an unknown cast, possibly limiting it to a Best Foreign Picture nod.

On the other hand, it’s directed by Cuarón, a previous Oscar winner and awards darling. And, as Joe Pichirallo, a former executive at Fox Searchlight Pictures and a professor at NYU told NPR, audience size may soon trump audience experience.

“Suddenly (Cuarón’s) film can be seen right away, in 190 countries around the world, at a potential audience of 130 million people,” he said. “Roma is now being taken seriously, at least right at this stage. It’s still early. But right now Roma is being talked about as a serious Oscar contender.”