By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - 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 U.S. 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 dramatization 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 U.S. president Selina Meyer on HBO's "Veep", apologized 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 U.S. 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.
(Additional reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy and Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sandra Maler and Mary Milliken)