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Emmys 2012: Damian Lewis and Dame Maggie Smith among victors

Homeland

Story by Jack Foley

BRITISH talent was recognised with two major awards at the 2012 Emmys with Damian Lewis being named best actor for his role in Homeland and Dame Maggie Smith being crowned best supporting actress for her role in Downton Abbey.

But while Homeland went on to win three further awards on the night, Downton missed out in the 15 other categories it was nominated in.

Overall, Homeland emerged as the night’s big winner along with ensemble comedy Modern Family and HBO’s political drama Game Change – all three programmes won a total of four Emmys each.

Homeland saw Lewis playing an American soldier who returns home after spending years in captivity in Iraq only to be suspected of having become an al-Qaeda agent.

It co-stars Claire Danes, who also took home the best actress award for her portrayal of the agent on his trail.

The show also took outstanding drama series and best writing in a drama series for its writing team of Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff.

Homeland‘s victory in the outstanding drama series category came at the expense of Downton, as well as Breaking Bad and – most crucially – Mad Men, which therefore missed out on a record fifth win.

Collecting his trophy, Lewis quipped: “I’m one of those pesky Brits, I apologise.”

He added: “I don’t really believe in judging art, but I thought I’d show up just in case.”

He then sportingly asked for a round of applause for his fellow nominees who included Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, now a five time nominee without a win.

Danes, meanwhile, complimented both of her co-stars, paying tribute to Lewis for achieving the “magic trick of turning a villain into someone human, and someone we feel so deeply about”, and describing co-star Mandy Patinkin as one of the most “beautiful, generous, loving, imaginative actors I’ve ever come across”.

The show’s second season begins in the US next week and follows on UK TV screens later this autumn.

Another of the night’s big winners, Game Change, followed Sarah Palin’s entry into the 2008 US vice presidential race and its subsequent repercussions.

Julianne Moore, who played Palin, was crowned outstanding lead actress in a mini-series or movie, while Jay Roach took best director for a mini-series or movie.

Moore, who picked up her first Emmy, commented: “Wow, I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down!”

Comedy juggernaut Modern Family also had another successful night, with awards including one for best comedy series – its third consecutive success in that category.

Cast members Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen won best supporting actor and actress, while the show’s director Steven Levitan won an award for best director of a comedy series.

Jon Cryer won best actor in a comedy series for his role in Two And A Half Men, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus took home the top comedy acting Emmy for her portrayal of a bungling US vice president in HBO’s Veep.

Louis CK took home the Emmy for writing for his FX comedy Louis.

Other big winners on the night included Kevin Costner, who was named best actor for the history-based mini-series Hatfields & McCoys and Aaron Paul, who won his second supporting actor Emmy for Breaking Bad ahead of Downton Abbey‘s multiple nominees.

Tom Berenger also picked up a supporting actor trophy for Hatfields & McCoys, while Jessica Lang landed the Emmy for supporting actress in a mini-series for FX’s American Horror Story.

See the winners at a glance