© 2017 American Physical Society. By combining microscopically calculated level densities with the Metropolis walk method, we develop a consistent framework for treating the energy and angular-momentum dependence of the nuclear shape evolution in the fission process. For each nucleus under consideration, the level density is calculated microscopically for each of more than five million shapes with a recently developed combinatorial method. The method employs the same single-particle levels as those used for the extraction of the pairing and shell contributions to the macroscopic-microscopic potential-energy surface. Containing no new parameters, the treatment is suitable for elucidating the energy dependence of the dynamics of warm nuclei on pairing and shell effects. It is illustrated for the fission fragment mass distribution for several uranium and plutonium isotopes of particular interest.