'Game of Thrones,' 'Veep' take top prizes again at Emmys

‘Game of Thrones’ won a total of 12 Emmys, including for directing and writing.

Writer/producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (both center-left, at microphone) with 'Game of Thrones' cast onstage during the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Picture: Getty Images/AFP.

LOS ANGELES - Fantasy drama series _ Game of Thrones_ and comedy Veep won the top Emmys for a second straight year on Sunday, fending off challenges from newcomers.

On a night when politics played large in the midst of an extraordinary 2016 US election campaign, Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus also won her fifth straight Emmy for her role in the satirical White House comedy.

Egyptian-American Rami Malek took home his first Emmy for best drama actor for playing a socially inept computer hacker in Mr. Robot, while Canadian Tatiana Maslany was a surprise winner for playing a woman with multiple cloned personalities in Orphan Black.

Game of Thrones, which went into Sunday's show with a leading 23 nominations, won a total of 12 Emmys, including for directing and writing.

True crime also made its mark.

The People v. O.J. Simpson, FX's 10-hour dramatisation of the former football player's 1995 double murder trial and sensational acquittal won nine Emmys, including for best limited series, writing, for lead actors Sarah Paulson and Courtney B. Vance and supporting actor Sterling K. Brown.

Louis-Dreyfus, who plays the vainglorious US president Selina Meyer on HBO's Veep, apologised for what she called "the current political climate."

"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 said while accepting the award.

Elsewhere, Jeffrey Tambor won best comedy actor for a second time for his role as a father who transitions to a woman in Amazon's ground-breaking Transparent.

Saturday Night Live comedian Kate McKinnon, who plays Democratic US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, won supporting comedy actress, and John Oliver's biting Last Week Tonight with John Oliver won the Emmy for variety talk series.