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Mendelsohn shocks Emmys with upset win

AAP logoAAP 18/09/2016 By Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

Just like his disturbing, vengeful character in Bloodline, Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn has left the A-List audience at the Emmy Awards in shock with a surprise win.

Mendelsohn, a favourite in Australia since his breakthrough role in 1987's The Year My Voice Broke but who only burst onto the Hollywood scene in recent years, won the best supporting actor Emmy on Sunday.

He upset Games of Thrones' duo Peter Dinklage and Kit Harrington who were expected to battle it out for the prize.

Ben Mendelsohn appears in a scene from Bloodline © Provided by AAP Ben Mendelsohn appears in a scene from Bloodline

Mendelsohn was an 80-1 longshot.

The talent stacked category also included Better Call Saul's Jonathan Banks, House of Cards' Michael Kelly and Ray Donovan's Jon Voight.

Mendelsohn, who stars in the next Star Wars film Rogue One, was not at the ceremony held at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

"Ben couldn't make it," actress Taraji P Henson, who announced the category, said.

"I'm going to accept it on his behalf."

A Netflix spokesperson said Mendelsohn was in the midst of filming the Star Wars film and unable to attend the ceremony.

Melbourne-born Mendelsohn, 47, has been an awards bridesmaid the past 12 months for his Bloodline role, scoring an Emmy nomination last year and a Golden Globe nomination in January.

He lost both to Dinklage.

Netflix announced last week they were axing the series, which was set in the Florida Keys and also co-starred Australian Jacinda Barrett.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus created history earlier at the ceremony while also making the audience inside the Microsoft Theater laugh and cry when she won outstanding comedy actress for Veep.

It was her eighth Emmy win and the fifth straight in the category for her role as US vice president and president Selina Meyer in Veep.

The win places her one ahead of TV greats Candice Bergen and Mary Tyler Moore in the category.

An emotional Louis-Dreyfus joked in her acceptance speech Veep started out as political satire, but with the presidential race shenanigans of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the comedy "now feels more like a sobering documentary".

Then, fighting back tears, the 55-year-old actress ended her speech by revealing her billionaire businessman father William died on Friday aged 84.

"I'm so glad he really liked me because his opinion was the one that really mattered," Louis-Dreyfus said.

Veep also won its second consecutive best comedy series win.

The People v OJ Simpson mini-series swept through the ceremony, with Sarah Polson winning best actress for playing prosecutor Marcia Clark, best actor Courtney B Vance as defence lawyer Johnnie Cochran and supporting actor Sterling K Brown as assistant prosecutor Christopher Darden.

Game of Thrones won the top Emmy of the night, best drama.

Tatiana Maslany took lead actress in a drama series for Orphan Black and Rami Malek claimed the actor prize for Mr Robot.

British veteran Maggie Smith also was a no-show when she won supporting actress for Downton Abbey, beating Game of Thrones' trio Lena Headey, Maisie Williams and Emilia Clarke.

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