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Game of Thrones and Veep win top prizes at Emmy Awards

Jon Hamm finally wins for Mad Men, while Viola Davis is first African-American to win a drama lead actress Emmy for her role as a defence lawyer in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 September, 2015, 11:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 September, 2015, 11:54am

Fantasy drama Game of Thrones and Washington political comedy Veep won the top prizes at the 2015 Emmy Awards, toppling old favourites Mad Men and Modern Family.

Jon Hamm finally snared an Emmy for his lead role as Don Draper in AMC’s 1960s advertising drama Mad Men, winning a standing ovation from the audience.

But Mad Men, a long-time Emmy favourite, failed to get a farewell hug after closing its final season earlier this year.

Viola Davis became the first African-American to win a drama lead actress Emmy for her role as a tough criminal defence lawyer in ABC’s How to Get Away With Murder.

"The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity," Davis said. "You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there."

It was the first best drama series Emmy for Game of Thrones in its five years on the air. The show also won awards for writing, directing and for supporting actor Peter Dinklage.

"Thank you HBO for believing in dragons," co-creator David Benioff said.

Veep and Amazon.com’s transgender comedy Transparent dominated the first part of the ceremony, with prizes for their respective stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus  and Jeffrey Tambor.  

Tambor, 71, won for his role as a father who transitions to a woman, and he dedicated the award – his first Emmy – to the transgender community.

“Thank you for your patience, thank you for your courage, thank you for your stories, thank you for your inspiration, thank you for letting us be part of the change,” he said.

In the first Emmys for Amazon.com’s foray into original content, Transparent also won for directing, while Bradley Whitford  took the guest actor award in a ceremony last week. Director Jill Soloway  thanked Amazon.com for allowing the show “incredible artistic freedom”.

The early running in the annual awards for American television productions indicated major support for HBO’s White House political comedy Veep.  Louis-Dreyfus won best comedy actress for the fourth time for playing egotistical Selina Meyer, while Tony Hale, who plays her bag man, was again named comedy supporting actor. Veep also clinched the comedy writing statuette.

“We’d like to thank HBO for letting us make fun of American politics and make American money,” writer Simon Blackwell said.

Inside Amy Schumer, the no-holds-barred female comedy which is written and directed by Schumer, proved a popular first-time winner in the variety sketch series category.

Perennial Emmy favourite The Daily Show with Jon Stewart won two awards for writing and directing,

Allison Janney took the comedy supporting actress award for the second year for CBS’s Mom.

The front runner for the top prize, best drama series, is the stylish 1960s-era advertising show Mad Men, which is bidding for a record fifth drama series win to crown its final season.

HBO’s Olive Kitteridge swept up most of the Emmys for limited series, including lead actress Frances McDormand  and lead actor Richard Jenkins.  

Popular singing contest The Voice won the reality competition category.

The Emmy Awards have been criticised in the past for rewarding the same shows and actors year after year. But this year more than half the nominees in the lead acting categories were either first-timers or from new series.