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"Surf's Up" received 10 nominations for the Annie Awards.

Hey, I'll admit that I enjoy a good snarky, pointed or sarcastic comment or joke as much as the next guy. I've been known to make a few myself, from time to time. But even I will take smart humor over "snark."

Unfortunately, there seem to be fewer and fewer people who know the difference.

Arguably, the trend toward snark began with the 1994 Kevin Smith comedy "Clerks" and TV's "The Simpsons," both of which feature satirical elements and lots of pop-culture references.

But subsequent films and television programs have taken that one step further. Film spoofs, such as the "Scary Movie" series, feature jokes that are simply movie, television and musical references without any humorous context.

Or they simply make fun of other shows, in the way "The Family Guy" has attacked its predecessor and fellow Fox animated series "The Simpsons." (Ironically, a "South Park" episode called out "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane for doing that ... although that's another example of the pot calling the kettle black, if you ask me.)

Of course, "Family Guy" is a hit And all of the "Shrek" movies, which have become an increasing mix of flatulence gags and jabs at its Disney competitors, have been huge box-office successes. So what do I know?

After all, the other day a letter to the editor basically called me a Lawrence Welk aficionado — an obvious dig at my supposed old-fashioned sensibilities.

Perhaps it's just my age showing.

RATS! IT'S GOTTA BE PIXAR . The International Animated Film Society has released its nominees for the 35th Annie Awards, which honor the best animated works in film, television, advertising and video game categories.

As expected, Disney-Pixar's comedy hit "Ratatouille" led the pack with 13 nominations, including best animated feature, directing, voice performances and music.

Other films nominated for best animated feature include "Bee Movie," the upcoming "Persepolis," "The Simpsons Movie" and "Surf's Up" (which received 10 nominations).

One especially high-profile film that failed to get much love from the Annies was Robert Zemeckis' "Beowulf," which used motion-capture technology, as well as computer-generated imagery that could arguably be called "animation." That film garnered one nomination, for production design.

In the past, the Annies voters — thousands of animation-industry insiders — have been accused of being "fuddy-duddies" because they often award more traditional forms of animation. But "Ratatouille" was done entirely by computer, as were most of the other nominees.

The Annie Awards will be announced Feb. 8 (www.annieawards.org).

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com