'Veep,' 'Game of Thrones' sweep fresh air into TV's Emmys

( Agencies ) Updated: 2015-09-21 13:28:31

'Veep,' 'Game of Thrones' sweep fresh air into TV's Emmys

Actor Jon Hamm holds the award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series for AMC's "Mad Men" as he walks backstage during the 67th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California Sept 20, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

HBO shows "Game of Thrones" and "Veep" won the top prizes at the Emmy Awards for the first time on Sunday, bringing a breath of fresh air to television's biggest night on an evening that also made history for black actresses.

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.

"There's been a terrible mistake clearly," said Hamm, who clambered onto the stage rather than walking up the stairs. "It's incredible and impossible for me to be standing here."

Hamm said playing a character like the secretive Draper for so long had been both a blessing and a curse.

"It doesn't come without a cost and a lot of mental and emotional baggage that gets torn through and weighs on you after a while," he told reporters backstage.

But "Mad Men," a four-time best drama series winner, was shut out of all the other categories and had to be content with just Hamm's Emmy after closing its final season earlier this year.

Instead, the 18,000 voters of the Television Academy threw their support behind the HBO medieval fantasy series "Game of Thrones," which was the night's biggest winner with 12 Emmys.

The top Emmy prize had always eluded the series, which is based on George R.R. Martin's books about blood-thirsty nobles and warring kingdoms, despite its 20 million viewers in the United States. On Sunday, it also won awards for writing, directing and for supporting actor Peter Dinklage.

Backstage, co-creator Dan Weiss said the "Thrones" team had known it would take a while to win over the Television Academy.

"We knew there'd be some resistance to the idea that a show set in this genre, as opposed to crime shows or Westerns, could be a serious drama," he said.

"(But) we knew if we did our jobs and were fortunate to be blessed with the cast and crew that we have, we'd get there eventually."

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