'Mad Men' wins fourth Emmy, in good night for Brits

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The Independent Culture

Cult ad agency drama "Mad Men" won the best drama Emmy for the fourth year Sunday, while Kate Winslet led a gang of Brits taking gongs at US television's annual awards show.

On the comedy front mockumentary "Modern Family" garnered a series of awards including best comedy series, in a triumphant night for the show at the Emmys, the Oscars of the small screen.

"Mad Men, which has spawned a host of lookalike shows, fought off notably the strongly-tipped "Boardwalk Empire" to take the best drama Emmy at the climax of the annual show in Hollywood.

The brilliantly-stylized AMC series, about a 1960s New York advertising agency, took the prize even though the show is not back on screens until next March, after a painfully long 17-month break.

"We are so grateful to the television academy for recognizing this show again, recognized by our peers. We want to thank the fans of the show who support it so wholeheartedly," said executive producer Matthew Weiner.

The "Mad Men" success came shortly after Oscar-winning "Titanic" co-star Winslet won the best actress in a mini-series Emmy for her role in period drama "Mildred Pierce."

The Oscar-winning star plays a divorcee single mother who opens a restaurant to survive in the Great Depression in the drama, for which her English-born Australian co-star Guy Pearce won best supporting actor Emmy moments earlier.

Winslet gave a short acceptance speech saying she "didnt think we were going to win anything" - until her gong it had been having a disappointing night - before thanking her mother.

Winslet's success came on a big night for another British period drama, "Downton Abbey."

The show won the best mini-series Emmy, while veteran Maggie Smith won best supporting actress and Julian Fellowes, who wrote the British period drama, best writer of a mini-series.

Brian Percival also won best director for "Downton Abbey," which tells the story of the aristocratic Crawley family in the stately home of the show's name.

Legendary filmmaker Martin Scorsese meanwhile won best drama director Emmy for HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

While "Mad Men" and Winslet were the highlights on the drama front, "Modern Family" was the unquestioned comedy king at Sunday night's ceremony.

The show, which casts a satirical light on the lives of three families, started the night by winning the first four Emmys announced.

Julie Bowen won for best supporting actress in a comedy, best supporting actor went to Ty Burrell, best director to Michael Spiller and best comedy writers Steve Levitan and Jeffrey Richman.

It bookended the show by winning the best comedy series at the climax of the two-hour Emmys show.

"Welcome to the Modern Family awards," ad libbed hostess Jane Lynch at one point during the glittering show at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" was the other big comedy winner of the night, taking the Outstanding Variety, Music Or Comedy Series award for an astonishing ninth year in a row.

Comic turns also included British comic Ricky Gervais, in a cut-edited recorded contribution riffing on his reputation for saying the unacceptable at awards shows, notably last year's Golden Globes where he was host.

Charlie Sheen, sacked from hit TV series "Two and a Half Men" after a very public meltdown, drew admiration by wishing the show all the best with his replacement, Ashton Kutcher.

There were also tears - notably from "Mike and Molly" star Melissa McCarthy who won best comedy actress, after she and her fellow nominees staged an "X-factor"-style huddle on stage to await whose name came out of the envelope.