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'Homeland' beats 'Downton Abbey' and 'Mad Men' at Emmys

BBC shows 'Sherlock' and 'Luther' lose out, but Maggie Smith and Damian Lewis win acting prizes

'Homeland' beats 'Downton Abbey' and 'Mad Men' at Emmys

Political drama Homeland beat off strong competition from Downton Abbey and Mad Men to take home four prizes at the Primetime Emmy Awards last night (September 24).

The show was named Outstanding Drama Series, thwarting Mad Men's bid to win for a fifth consecutive year, while its stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis collected the Lead Actress and Lead Actor accolades in the Drama categories.

Mad Men, which went into last night's awards ceremony in Los Angeles with 17 nominations, failed to take home any major prizes, but Downton Abbey fared slightly better, with Maggie Smith winning the Supporting Actress in a Drama Series award for her performance as the Dowager Countess of Grantham.

Meanwhile, ensemble sitcom Modern Family dominated the Comedy categories with four victories, while political drama Game Change cleaned up in the Miniseries or Movies section with the same number of wins. The HBO TV movie starred Julianne Moore in an award-winning performance as Republican politician Sarah Palin.

Other notable winners at the 2012 Primetime Emmys included Kevin Costner, Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who claimed the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series prize for her role in Veep, Armando Iannucci's loose remake of his hit BBC political sitcom The Thick Of It.

However, the BBC's Sherlock, which had picked up five nominations including acting nods for Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, went home empty-handed, as did the BBC's Luther, which had been nominated in four categories.

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