In Depth

Emmy Awards 2016: Game of Thrones in record-breaking triumph

HBO's fantasy drama breaks record as its stars promise fans a 'crazy, unbelievable' series seven is on its way

Game of Thrones has won the best drama award at the 2016 Emmy Awards, although its stars failed to win any of their five acting nominations.

HBO's epic fantasy show has been a regular at the awards in recent times and this year received 23 nods, making it the TV show with the most nominations of 2016.

Between Sunday night's main Emmys and last week's Creative Arts Emmys, it won 11 in all – taking its total number won over the years to a record-breaking 38, beating the previous best of 37, which had been held by the hit sitcom Frasier.

Scriptwriters David Benioff and DB Weiss won their second writing award, this year for the action-packed season six episode Battle of the Bastards. The series also picked up the outstanding drama award. 

But there was disappointment for the show's actors. Lena Headey, Maisie Williams and Emilia Clarke had all been nominated for best supporting actress, while Kit Harington and former Emmy-winner Peter Dinklage were in the running for best supporting actor. The top prizes in these categories, however, went to Dame Maggie Smith for Downton Abbey and Bloodline's Ben Mendelsohn.

Undeterred, the actors used their moment in the limelight to tease a bigger and better series seven. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, called the scripts for the upcoming season "unbelievable" and "crazy". Meanwhile, elusive author George RR Martin, who writes the Song of Ice and Fire novels on which Game of Thrones is based, pointed out there are still thousands of pages of material to draw on.

Last night was also memorable for a number of Brits who picked up awards. Birmingham-born John Oliver won best variety talk series for his HBO show Last Week Tonight, beating fellow Brit James Corden, who was nominated for The Late Late Show.

BBC's Sherlock was named best made-for-TV movie for its one-off episode The Abominable Bride, with co-creator Steven Moffatt picking up the prize.

The corporation was also celebrating the success of its spy thriller The Night Manager, which saw Denmark's Susanne Bier scoop the award for best directing in a limited series.

Bier, the only female nominee in the category, told the BBC: "This is such a traditional men's world and I hope the fact a woman director has won this prestigious prize is going to mean that more non-conventional series and movies are going to be directed by women."

For the second year in a row, the outstanding comedy series award went to Veep, co-written by Thick of It writers Armando Iannucci and Sean Gray, while its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, won outstanding lead comedy actress for the fifth time.

FX true crime television series The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story scored a total of four wins - best limited series, best actor for Courtney B Vance, best actress for Sarah Paulson and best supporting actor for Sterling K Brown - while other winners included Rami Malek as best lead actor in a drama series for Mr Robot and Tatiana Maslany as best lead actress in a drama for Orphan Black.

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