Showtime's Homeland triumphed over Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Downton Abbey in the 'Outstanding Drama Series' category.
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Lead acting duo Damian Lewis and Claire Danes added to Homeland's Golden Globes wins earlier this year by taking the awards for 'Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series' and 'Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series' respectively.
Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul took home the award for 'Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series', while Dame Maggie Smith claimed the prize for 'Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series' for Downton Abbey.
ABC's Modern Family once again enjoyed Emmys success, beating shows including The Big Bang Theory and Girls to the 'Outstanding Comedy Series' prize, while Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen also scooped supporting acting awards in the comedy series categories.
Jon Cryer was recognised with the award for 'Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series' for his performance in Two and a Half Men, while Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the prize for 'Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series' for HBO's Veep.
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HBO's Game Change, telling the story of Sarah Palin's Republican vice-presidential nomination in 2008, was recognised with four major awards including 'Outstanding Miniseries Or Movie'.
Producer Tom Hanks thanked "our founding fathers for the democratic process they came up with" in a rapidly-delivered speech, joking that politics had provided HBO and numerous Emmy-nominated comedy series with a wealth of material.
Julianne Moore, who played Palin, beat fellow nominees including Nicole Kidman to win the award for 'Lead Actress In A Miniseries Or Movie'.
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Thanking cast and crew including director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong, she quipped: "Wow, wow, I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down!"
Strong and Roach were also recognised with Emmys for their work on Game Change, which is based on Mark Halperin and John Heilemann's book of the same name.
Sherlock missed out in the major miniseries and TV movie categories it was nominated in, as Kevin Costner triumphed in the 'Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or Movie' category for historical drama Hatfields & McCoys.
Thanking the Romanian film industry for its contribution to filming, Costner said: "I've loved being an actor, I've loved this life. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have it. Thank you."
The Primetime Emmys were hosted by talkshow host Jimmy Kimmel, who involved 30 Rock star Tracy Morgan in a number of his links and skits throughout the night.
UK viewers will be able to watch highlights from the Primetime Emmys on Monday, September 24 at 10pm on 5USA.