National security-themed show "Homeland" wins the top prize in the dramatic side at the 2012 Emmy Awards.
"Hello everybody, I'm Damian Lewis, I'm one of those pesky Brits, apologies... I don't really believe in judging art, but I thought I'd show up just in case it turned out all right," Lewis said.
The wins for "Homeland" brought to an end the reign of AMC's stylish 1960s advertising show "Mad Men," which left Sunday's Emmy ceremony empty-handed. It was the biggest shutout in Emmy history for "Mad Men," which had gone into Sunday's awards as joint top nominee with 17 nominations.
"Homeland" also beat popular "Downton Abbey," about aristocrats and their servants in an English country house, and HBO's medieval fantasy series "Game of Thrones," in what was the first year that all the nominated best drama series came from cable television.
American politics did figure strongly in other Emmy races. "Game Change," the HBO story of Sarah Palin's entry into the 2008 U.S. vice presidential race, was also a big winner, taking the Emmy for best miniseries, writing, directing and acting for star Julianne Moore.
"Wow, I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down!" Moore said while accepting her first Emmy.
Oscar-winning actor Kevin Costner won an Emmy in his first role for television. Costner starred in the popular History channel miniseries "Hatfields & McCoys," about a legendary feud between two 19th century families, while Tom Berenger took a supporting actor Emmy for his role in the show.
The other big winner on the dramatic side was Jessica Lange - who won for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Miniseries for her role in "American Horror Story."
Winning on the supporting male side was Aaron Paul, star of "Breaking Bad."
"Thank you so much, and the rest of the writers for not killing me off," said Paul.
The Emmys were handed out at Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre and aired on U.S. cable channel ABC.