Emmy Awards: Hugh Bonneville fights Damian Lewis for acting award

Hugh Bonneville and Damian Lewis Hugh Bonneville lost out to Damian Lewis at last year's Emmys

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Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville will compete against Homeland actor Damian Lewis to be named lead actor in a drama at this year's Emmy awards.

The stars will go up against Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Kevin Spacey for House of Cards, Mad Men's Jon Hamm and Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom.

American Horror Story: Asylum scored the most nominations with 17 nods including best mini series.

Oscar winner Jessica Lange is also nominated for her role in the horror.

Game of Thrones was recognised in 16 categories, while Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra received 15 mentions.

Michael Douglas, who plays the flamboyant pianist, will go head-to-head with his on-screen partner Matt Damon to be named best lead actor in a mini series or movie.

It is the first major nomination for the HBO production which will not qualify for the US film awards season because it was made for television, although it was released in cinemas outside of the US.

Douglas and Damon are up against Toby Jones for his portrayal of director Alfred Hitchcock in The Girl, Benedict Cumberbatch in Parade's End and Al Pacino.

Pacino has been recognised for his performance as Phil Spector in the HBO film named after the troubled music producer.

Dame Helen Mirren, who plays Spector's lawyer Linda Kenney-Baden, has also been nominated in the lead actress in a mini series or movie category.

HBO, which received 108 nominations in total, tweeted it was "honoured" to be the most-nominated network for the 12th consecutive year.

Elisabeth Moss Moss plays detective Robin Griffin in the new BBC Two drama Top Of The Lake

House of Cards became the first programme only available online to receive a nomination for best drama series.

The Netflix political saga - a remake of the 1990 BBC series - earned nine nominations including lead actress for Robin Wright as well as Spacey's nomination.

"There's been so much talk about whether the series would break through - would the Academy be able to recognise a series being discovered in such a new way? The fact that we not only did that, but that we got nine nominations is an incredible acknowledgement of the work we've done," Spacey told industry publication Variety.

Revived series Arrested Development, which was also produced by Netflix, had three nominations including lead actor in a comedy for Jason Bateman.

Analysis

The nine nominations earned by American political thriller House of Cards are particularly significant.

It's the first time a show that was only available online has been recognised in a major category in any of the big TV awards, even though the Emmy rules were changed six years ago to allow online entries.

In the past, the perception might have been that some programmes were given internet-only broadcasts because they weren't good enough for the networks. But this sends a clear message those shows can now reach an equal, or even greater, quality than their mainstream broadcast counterparts.

As our viewing habits move away from the traditional broadcast model - driven by high quality productions like House of Cards - awards such as the Emmys are likely to reflect that.

Mad Men star Elisabeth Moss, who missed out on the best actress award to Homeland actress Claire Danes in 2012, received two nods.

Her performance as Peggy Olson in Mad Men was shortlisted in the leading actress category alongside Michelle Dockery for Downton Abbey, Nashville's Connie Britton, Kerry Washington in Scandal and Vera Farmiga in Bates Motel.

Moss was also recognised for her leading role in director Jane Campion's acclaimed new drama Top Of The Lake, which scored eight nominations including outstanding mini series or movie.

The BBC co-produced series will challenge Sigourney Weaver drama Political Animals along with Phil Spector, The Bible, Behind The Candelabra and American Horror Story: Asylum.

Downton Abbey received 12 nominations in total, including best drama series and supporting acting nods for Dame Maggie Smith and Jim Carter.

The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics was also nominated for four awards including outstanding special class programme - with Danny Boyle nominated for art direction.

Another BBC co-production, The Girl, which centres on Alfred Hitchcock and his relationship with actress Tippi Hedren, received four nominations.

As well as Jones's acting nod, Imelda Staunton was recognised for outstanding supporting actress for her role as Alma Hitchcock.

Hosts Paul and Harris both received nominations

In the comedy category, the final season of long-running series 30 Rock scored the most nominations with 13, including best comedy.

Creator and star Tina Fey and co-star Alec Baldwin both picked up nominations in the leading comedy acting categories.

Last year's big winner, Modern Family, was shortlisted for 12 awards including best comedy series and acting nods for five of its stars.

Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who hosted the Emmy award ceremony last year, will compete against Saturday Night Live for best variety series.

While British presenter Cat Deeley scored her third consecutive nomination for best reality host.

Breaking Bad's Aaron Paul, who won best supporting actor in a drama series last year, presented the nominations announcement.

He stands to win his third Emmy for his role as Jesse Pinkman, should he beat co-star Jonathan Banks, Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale from Boardwalk Empire, Homeland's Mandy Patinkin and Jim Carter, who plays Mr Carson in Downton Abbey.

"Thank you so much for the undying support," Paul tweeted.

The ceremony will be held in Los Angeles on 22 September, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

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