Fantasy drama series "Game of Thrones" and comedy "Veep" proved repeat winners for cable giant HBO at the Emmy awards on Sunday, but newcomers and actors of color also made their mark in a ceremony where election-year politics played large.
Fan favorite "Game of Thrones," went into Sunday's show with a leading 23 nominations and won a total of 12 Emmys, including for best drama series, directing and writing. It beat off a challenge from USA network's "Mr. Robot," as well as Netflix's dark Washington D.C. drama "House of Cards."
"We're standing up here because George Martin created the world that we all live and play in," said co-creator Dan Weiss.
True crime was also a big winner. "The People v. O.J. Simpson," FX's 10-hour dramatization of the former football player's 1995 double murder trial and sensational acquittal won nine Emmys, including for best limited series and for actors Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance and Sterling K. Brown.
Paulson, who played losing Los Angeles trial prosecutor Marcia Clark in the show, brought Clark along with her to the Emmys. "The more I learned about the real Marcia Clark... the more I had to recognize that I along with the rest of the world had been superficial and careless in my judgment," said Paulson, accepting her first Emmy.
Host Jimmy Kimmel opened Sunday's show with a string of jokes about Republican presidential contender and former "Celebrity Apprentice" star Donald Trump. "If Donald Trump gets elected and he builds that wall, the first person we are throwing over it is Mark Burnett," quipped Kimmel, addressing Burnett, the British producer who created "Celebrity Apprentice."
"Veep" star Julia Louis-Dreyfus won her fifth straight Emmy for her role in the satirical White House comedy in which she plays a graspingly ambitious and inept president battling to stay in power. Louis-Dreyfus apologized for what she called "the current political climate," seven weeks before the presidential election.
"I think that 'Veep' has torn down the wall between comedy and politics. Our show started out as a political satire but it now feels like a sobering documentary," she quipped, in an oblique reference to the presidential campaign.