Antonio Banderas thinks Hollywood should grow up and be nicer to women.

He took Tinseltown to task for ageism and sexism at his Los Angeles Film Festival’s tribute, using his wife, Melanie Griffith, 50, as a prime example of the entertainment industry’s discriminatory practices.

Melanie_griffith"My wife Melanie is one of the most important comedic actresses in America but Hollywood sometimes can be extremely cruel with women as they age," Banderas, 47, told the L.A. Daily News at the Hammer Museum in Westwood on Tuesday.

He’s right about that. Check out this cruel TMZ coverage of the Oscar-nominated ("Working Girl") actress.  Or this nasty item from Us Weekly.

But it’s not just Hollywood. Check out these mean photos in a British tab. Jeepers. Why is everyone picking on Melanie?

"It may seem a little harsh to say this, but this town is like a factory that needs fresh flesh, and once actresses become 40 or 50 they are forgotten," the Latin heartthrob said. "That’s the opposite of Europe where actresses like Simone Signoret are respected as they age and work until they die."

Thankfully, Griffith’s career is not dead yet. She’s been doing quite a bit of TV and film voice-work. So has Antonio, who’s continuing his Puss in Boots voice for "Shrek Goes Fourth" and "Puss in Boots," just announced and set to open in 2010.

But Hollywood’s not so nice to young stars, either. And given the obvious scary examples of young child stars such as Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus, Banderas isn’t in favor of his 11-year-old daughter going into the family business.

"I would listen to her questions and give her advice but I wouldn’t want Stella to become an actor today because it’s a very difficult and complex profession. The ups and downs due to the pressure in Hollywood can really be painful and a lot of young people can’t face the challenges and can lose their minds."

Photo: Top, Antonio Banderas and wife Melanie Griffith host the 2007 Entertainment Weekly pre-Oscar party. Lower, Melanie Griffith at the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" premiere in 2005.
Credit: WireImage

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead