Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman go head to head as Brits dominate Emmys nominations

Sherlock and Downton Abbey score twelve nods apiece, with Freeman up a second time for his role in US drama Fargo

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Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman go head to head as Brits dominate Emmys nominations
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The Brits will be a force to be reckoned with at the 2014 Emmy Awards ceremony after a string of entries on this year's shortlist.

This afternoon's nominations include nods for Sherlock stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman who will go head-to-head for lead actor in a miniseries or movie, the latter for his role in Fargo. The pair are up against fellow Britons Chiwetel Ejiofor (for Dancing on the Edge) and Idris Elba (Luther), Mark Ruffalo (The Normal Heart) and Freeman's Fargo co-star Billy Bob Thornton.

Freeman's performance as Dr John Watson in Sherlock also receives a nod for outstanding supporting actor in a movie or miniseries, competing with his Fargo co-star Colin Hanks and four cast members from The Normal Heart – Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Alfred Molina and Joe Mantello. 

Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery faces stiff competition for lead actress in a drama series, against Claire Danes (Homeland), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Robin Wright (House of Cards), Julianna Marguiles (The Good Wife) and Lizzie Caplan (Masters of Sex).

Downton Abbey is also nominated for outstanding drama series, with Jim Carter recognised for supporting actor, and Maggie Smith and Joanne Froggatt battling it out for supporting actress against British Game of Thrones star Lena Headey. 

Derek star creator Ricky Gervais has been shortlisted for lead actor in a comedy series, up against The Big Bang Theory's Jim Parsons and Matt LeBlanc for Episodes, while Brits also feature in the nominations for lead actress in a movie or miniseries with Helena Bonham Carter (Burton And Taylor) and Minnie Driver (Return to Zero) competing for the spoils. 

Hugely popular across the pond, Sherlock and Downton both have twelve nods apiece. Sherlock co-creator Steven Moffat's writing is recognised for series three finale His Last Vow, while the show appears on a string of production shortlists including cinematography, casting and directing. Downton also picks up nominations for sound, costume and hairstyling, among others. 

One of the evening's fiercest contests will take place for the lead actor in a drama series where True Detective's Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson will compete against Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards).

Netflix original series Orange is the New Black has also collected a string of nominations, including outstanding comedy series (contesting the likes of Veep, Modern Family and The Big Bang Theory), supporting actress in a comedy series for Kate Mulgrew and guest actress in a comedy series nods for Laverne Cox, Uzo Aduba and Natasha Lyonne.

Taylor Schilling is also up for the coveted outstanding lead actress in a comedy series, battling it out against Girls creator Lena Dunham, Parks and Recreation's Amy Poehler, Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) and Mike & Molly's Melissa McCarthy. 

The 66th Primetime Emmy Awards take place on 25 August 2014