Newsweek‘s round-table chat with the five directors everyone is assuming will be Oscar-nominated for Best Director — George Clooney (Good Night, and Good Luck), Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain), Bennett Miller (Capote), Paul Haggis (Crash) and Steven Spielberg (Munich) — has some good banter and at least one strong political acknowledgement. “From the end of the first wave of the civil-rights movement, all the way through Watergate, people were constantly talking about what was going on in the country,” says Clooney. “Now it seems that’s happening again. You can sit in a room and have people talk about politics — in Los Angeles, of all places.” Then Lee says, “There seems to be a collective social consciousness.” And Spielberg says, “I think we all have been given our marching orders … Maybe I shouldn’t get into this. [Pause] I just feel that filmmakers are much more proactive since the second Bush administration. I think that everybody is trying to declare their independence and state their case for the things that we believe in. No one is really representing us, so we’re now representing our own feelings, and we’re trying to strike back.” And Newsweek asks, “So Bush has been good for film?” and Spuielberg says, “I wouldn’t just say Bush. The whole neo-conservative movement.” And Clooney says, “Because it’s polarizing. I’m not going to sit up and say, ‘This is how you should think.’ But let’s at least acknowledge that there should be an open debate, and not be told that it’s unpatriotic to ask questions.”