LOS ANGELES, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Showtime drama "Homeland" has ended the bid by "Mad Men" to safely win for the fifth consecutive time at the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards here Sunday night, taking home the trophy for best drama.
Meanwhile, perennial winner "Modern Family" prevailed in the comedy category, walking home with the best comedy for the third consecutive year when the ceremony kicked off at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles.
Owing to the multiple wins by "Game Change," HBO led the night with six awards. ABC followed with five, while Showtime collected four, FX nabbed three and History secured two.
"Modern Family" beat strong contenders including "30 Rock," "The Big Bang Theory," and three HBO series such as "Curb Your Enthusiasm," "Girls" and "Veep," to nab the top honor in comedy.
The AMC series also grabbed supporting acting prizes for Eric Stonestreet and Julie Bowen, as well as a best-directing Emmy for co-creator Steven Levitan.
However, it was "Homeland" which dominated the star-studded night. The drama tells a tale of a former Marine sergeant who is suspected of plotting a terror attack against the United States.
Aside from the best drama accolade, the Showtime series also won prizes for best writing in a drama series for Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Gideon Raff. It also grabbed two acting honors for stars Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.
Calling himself a "pesky Brit," Lewis said that although he didn't really believe in judging art, "but I thought I'd show up just in case. Turned out all right."
"What an extraordinary honor to be in a category with these golden actors, setting a gold standard in acting in a golden age of TV," Lewis said when delivering an acceptance speech. "Can we give them a round of applause, please? I'd like to say, very quick thank-yous all round."
Danes thanked the show's "all-star team of writers...for taking the drama to the very brink and just a little bit beyond" when she received the trophy onstage.
This was Danes' second, but the first Emmy in the category. In 2010, she won for lead actress in a miniseries or movie for "Temple Grandin," an HBO biopic about an autistic woman who later became one of the top scientists in the humane livestock handling industry.
On the comedy front, Jon Cryer pulled off a stunning upset when he took home his second Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for "Two and a Half Men," besting the heavily favored Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"). It was Cryer's first win and nomination in the lead actor category.
Before the award ceremony, many analysts have predicted that the two-time winner Parsons will have to be parted with the award this time. He first won a supporting-actor Emmy in 2009 for his work in "Two and a Half Men" which was followed by a best lead actor award in a comedy for his role as Alan Harper in the CBS hit.
"Something has clearly gone terribly wrong," said Cryer as he accepted the award. "I am in an amazing category with amazing people who I worship and admire."
Julia Louis-Dreyfus collected her third Emmy Award for portrayal of an ambitious, conniving and politically inept vice president on "Veep."
The actress won in the same category in 2006 for "The New Adventures of Old Christine" after she walked away with a supporting-actress prize in 1996 for her work in "Seinfeld."
"It's a bit mystifying to me because people say this show is a comedy and yet I don't see anything funny about me being vice president of the United States," she said.
Jessica Lange collected supporting actress in a miniseries movie for starring in "American Horror Story," a horror show which was first launched on FX in October, 2011.
"This is really lovely. It's been such a kind of wild ride," she said, raising the trophy onstage.
The event also featured a tribute to those who have passed away during the past year. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, pop diva Whitney Houston, Mike Wallace, who was the hard-hitting correspondent on "60 Minutes," and Kathryn Joosten who played Karen McCluskey on "Desperate Housewives" and a number of other popular names in the entertainment were remembered with their names and pictures shown onscreen.
"Game Change" received four Emmys -- outstanding miniseries or made-for-television movie, best writing for Danny Strong, best actress for Julianne Moore and best director for Jay Roach.
"I feel so validated because Sarah Palin gave me a big thumbs down," Moore said onstage. "I'd like to thank the television academy for this and putting me in the company with such wonderful actresses."
"The Amazing Race" thrashed out challengers like "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Voice" to grab the Emmy for Outstanding Reality-Competition Program. The CBS around-the-world chase competition won for the ninth time in 10 nominations in the category.
Tom Bergeron of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" won his first Emmy for reality show host.
Kevin Costner collected his first Emmy as lead actor in a miniseries or television movie. He was recognized for his role in the hit History series "Hatfields & McCoys."