Kate Winslet won an Emmy as lead actress in a miniseries or a movie for HBO's Mildred Pierce.

The 35-year-old actress, who is renowned for her gushing speeches, was clearly emotional as she paid tribute to her own mother while accepting the award.

She said: “Mildred Pierce was capable of great acts of love as a mother. It doesn't matter how old you are or what you do with your life, you will never stop needing your mum. And I will never stop needing mine, so thanks, Mum.”

Her co-star, Guy Pearce, was named outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie. Pearce joked: “I got to have sex with Kate Winslet many many times.”

Winslet was presented with the award by fellow British actor Hugh Laurie.

Winslet beat Elizabeth McGovern, who plays the Countess of Grantham in ITV1's Downton Abbey, in the category of best actress in a mini-series. Jean Marsh was also nominated in the category for her portrayal of parlour maid Rose Buck in the BBC's Upstairs, Downstairs.

At the red carpet Sunday night at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, Winslet turned up at the Nokia Theatre for television's big night wearing the popular crimson shade. Winslet wore a red body-hugging Elie Saab gown.

Stars attending the ceremony were lavished with the customary gift bags. Despite the economic downturn, freebies were in great abundance with notebook computers, designer sunglasses, handbags and even high-end baby strollers on offer.