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Oscars 2016: These are the best, most helpful clips packages in ages

They explain hard-to-understand categories so well.

Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

Every year, the Oscars face a tricky challenge: How do they explain the many, many technical categories where the skill that's being honored isn't immediately obvious? Everybody knows what an actor does — or thinks they do, anyway — but what does a sound editor do, exactly?

Well, the 2016 Oscars did a terrific job of explaining these many below-the-line categories, with explanations from presenters as well as clips packages that explained some of the finer details of categories that might seem to reward the exact same thing.

The sound editing clips package embedded above, for instance, shows off just what a sound editor does — namely, create the sound effects you hear in a movie in post-production.

An explosion on set is never going to sound as rich or as rippling as one created while the film is going through the long process that transforms it from a bunch of raw footage into something you can watch onscreen.

The 2016 Oscars offered up similarly helpful packages for everything from screenwriting to visual effects. This stuff isn't always intuitive, and the awards often explain it in a way that's confusing or obtuse. Not so this year, and future ceremonies should take note of what worked in 2016 to repeat in the future.

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