From the New York Post Watch your back, Oscar! The Academy Awards telecast — plagued in recent years by low ratings and growing viewer discontent — is in danger of playing second fiddle to the younger, hipper Golden Globes, experts say. “The Globes have seized the cool factor this year,” Tom O’Neil, editor of GoldDerby.com, tells The Post. The Oscars telecast, meanwhile, “is like high mass,” he says. “And going to church is supposed to be boring. It is part of the punishment for the soul that you deserve for living that glamorous Hollywood life.” Ratings for “Hollywood’s Biggest Night” have been flirting with all-time lows, with just more than 36 million tuning in last February.

 A BIT STIFF: When the Oscars tried to cater to a young audience with James Franco and Anne Hathaway as hosts, they still didn’t measure up to the much edgier Golden Globes (hosted last year and again this year by Ricky Gervais) or the MTV Movie Awards.

“I think someday it is inevitable that the MTV Movie Awards will surpass the Oscars in terms of eyeballs [watching],” O’Neil says. Much of the anticipation about this year’s Golden Globes comes from returning host Ricky Gervais. “He was such a skunk at the picnic last year that everyone is looking forward to what mischief he perpetrates this year,” O’Neil says. “There is a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding the Globes that are not surrounding the Oscars.” The 2012 Academy Awards — which air Feb. 26 — have instead been trying to deflect attention away from the recent loss of producer Brett Ratner and host Eddie Murphy. Comedian Billy Crystal — who has emceed the event eight times between 1990 and 2004 — came to the show’s rescue in November. But at 63, is he simply too old to recapture Oscar’s former glory — and the 40 million-plus who once tuned in? “Billy Crystal was the perfect guy at the perfect cultural moment,” says TV expert Bob Thompson at Syracuse University. “But he is a lot older now. This moment is very, very different. One of my students actually said to me, ‘Isn’t Billy Crystal dead?’ ” O’Neil believes Oscar producers should simply give up trying to pander to the Twitter generation. “I think they are realizing the error of their recent ways when they hankered after hipness by picking Anne Hathaway and James Franco last year and seeing that become a disaster,” he says. “And by picking the rent-a-clowns from New York — Jon Stewart, Chris Rock and David Letterman — who were totally inappropriate hosts for the Oscars, they were trying to be totally cool and edgy and it backfired. “Now they are going with a Hollywood insider who is a proven maestro.” Gervais, meanwhile, has vowed nothing is off limits for his Globes return on January 15. “Or I wouldn’t do it,” he tells The BBC. “Where is the fun in that? Get someone who can read [cue cards], because I am not very good at that.” Last year, Gervais came under fire for attacking Charlie Sheen, Scientology and even the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. “The greatest thing about him is . . . you don’t know what he is going to do,” Globes producer Barry Adelman tells The Post. “Of course it scares you, but at the end of the day it keeps you on your toes, which is good for everybody. “Our approach is we want to throw a big party to celebrate the best of the year in movies and television, and we want people to have a great time when they are at that party. I think that spills over into the television viewing audience.”