The 64th Prime Time Emmy Awards

The 64th Prime Time Emmy Awards

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Celebrating excellence in television programming, the 64th Primetime Emmy® awards will be announced on Sunday 23rd September.

The atmosphere in the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles will be electric with anticipation, jubilation and disappointment, as the stars and programme makers await the final verdicts. The awards ceremony itself will be presented by the comedian and late-night talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel.

There were plenty of surprises when the nominees were announced in July, not the least being the absence of former favourites such as American Idol and Hugh Laurie. Who will win the coveted awards is a closely guarded secret, but front-runners include American Horror Story and Mad Men with a total of 17 nominations apiece. Connie Britton, Jessica Lange, Ben Feldman, Jared Harris and Christina Hendricks are among the stars hoping to win.

Also high on the gongs list is a record-breaking mini series soon to make its Channel 5 debut. Hatfields & McCoys, about two feuding families in the Old West, is up for 16 Primetime Emmys®, including outstanding TV mini-series or movie, outstanding direction, writing and costume design, as well as possible acting accolades for Kevin Costner, Bill Paxton and Tom Berenger.

British programmes have fared well this year. Downton Abbey leads the way with 16 nominations. The show's 27 nominations over the past two years constitute a record for a British programme.

It goes head-to-head with American heavyweights Boardwalk Empire, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Homeland and Mad Men in the highly competitive outstanding drama series section. Acting gongs could also be forthcoming for Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle and Jim Carter.

Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia is up for 13 awards including best mini series and writing, and both Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are seen as strong contenders to receive acting awards. Also in the best mini-series category are Luther (with Idris Elba again up for best leading actor), American Horror Story, Game Change and Hemingway & Gellhorn.

Other Brits looking for awards this time include Emma Thompson for The Song of Lunch and Damian Lewis for outstanding lead actor for Homeland. There are high hopes for the acclaimed Frozen Planet(non-fiction series, cinematography), Dancing with the Stars (reality-competition), Great Expectations (costumes, cinematography) and Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (reality programme) to win their categories.

Another hotly contested category is comedy, with Modern Family leading with a total of 14 nominations against The Big Bang Theory, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls, Modern Family, 30 Rock and Veep.

With Channel 5 programmes Parenthood, Justified, Once Upon a Time, The Walking Dead, CSI: Miami and Person of Interest also among the nominations and big names including Glenn Close, Nicole Kidman, Woody Harrelson, Julianna Margulies, Steve Buscemi, Kathy Bates and Don Cheadle among the stars up for awards, it promises to be a glittering night to remember.