Final Downton Abbey series challenging Game of Thrones for Emmys

The sixth and final season of ITV’s Downton Abbey is in the running for the Best Drama award at America’s prestigious Emmy Awards.

Kit Harington secured one of Game of Throne's 23 Emmy nominations
Kit Harington secured one of Game of Throne’s 23 Emmy nominations

The US Television Academy largely recognises American shows and stars, but a handful of British programmes and performers have made it onto the shortlist – primarily those that have been co-produced by, screened on or involved with US networks or cable channels.

The show to beat is the Northern-Ireland-shot Game of Thrones, which has received 23 nominations, including Best Drama Series, alongside Homeland, The Americans, House of Cards, Better Call Saul and Mr Robot.

The People v OJ Simpson, which has a total of 22 nominations, is up for the Outstanding Limited Series, against The Night Manager, American Crime, Fargo and Roots.

Luther and Sherlock are up against All the Way, Confirmation and A Very Murray Christmas for Outstanding TV Movie.

Armando Iannucci’s Veep is the leading contender among the comedies, with 17 nominations.

Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston are among The Night Manager's 12 nominations
Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston are among The Night Manager’s 12 nominations

Welshman Matthew Rhys, the star of FX Networks’ The Americans, is up for the award for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, against Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) and Rami Malek (Mr Robot).

Three of Britain’s most internationally recognised big-screen actors – Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager) and Idris Elba (Luther) – are in the running against each other for the Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie. They’re up against Bryan Cranston (All the Way), Cuba Gooding Jr and Courtney B Vance (both for The People v OJ Simpson).

Another British actor in the running is Kit Harington, up against his Game of Thrones co-star Peter Dinklage, Ben Mendelsohn, Jonathan Banks, Jon Voight and Michael Kelly in the competition for the best supporting actor in a drama series.

The Night Manager’s Hugh Laurie is facing competition from Jesse Plemons and Bokeem Woodbine, from Fargo, and John Travolta, David Schwimmer and Sterling K Brown from The People v OJ Simpson for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

Dame Maggie Smith is nominated as supporting actress in Downton Abbey
Dame Maggie Smith is nominated as supporting actress in Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith is back in the running for Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, alongside Maura Tierney from The Affair, Constance Zimmer from UnREAL and a British trio from Game of Thrones – Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey and Maisie Williams.

The other main star of The Night Manager, Olivia Colman, has been nominated for her supporting role in a mini-series, against Melissa Leo, Regina King, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates and Jean Smart.

Two British exports are also in the running in the Outstanding Variety Talk Series category; James Corden and John Oliver are up against Jimmy Kimmel (who’s hosting the Emmy’s award show), Jimmy Fallon and Jerry Seinfeld.

The awards will be handed out at a ceremony in Los Angeles on 18th September.