Jared Leto, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas and Jim Parsons are among the actors nominated Wednesday for the 20th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards, considered the first step on the road to Oscar gold.

Leto's portrayal of an HIV-positive transgender woman in the film Dallas Buyers Club earned him a nomination in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role category.

Playing lovers in the HBO film Behind the Candelabra earned Damon and Douglas nominations in the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries category. In the film, Douglas plays the late pianist Liberace opposite Damon as Scott Thorson, Liberace's alleged lover.

On the episodic TV side, Jim Parsons, who casually came out gay in a The New York Times profile published last year, received a comedy nomination for his portrayal of science geek Sheldon Cooper on CBS' long-running sitcom The Big Bang Theory.

Winners will be announced at a presentation to be held on January 18 at the Shrine Auditorium & Exposition Center in Los Angeles.

The complete list of SAG Awards 2014 nominees.