Will Smith was asked to leave the Oscars -- we know that -- but despite his refusal to leave the Dolby Theater after he slapped Chris Rock, forcibly removing him was never an option ... TMZ learned.
LAPD sources tell TMZ ... the cops who were inside the venue were never consulted about removing Smith ... something we're told that would have been done if the Academy wanted him out one way or the other.
As we reported, Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson were "furious" at Will, and there was plenty of yelling backstage with Will's reps after the slap. As one source described it, the Academy honchos were "apoplectic."
Our sources say it didn't take long at all for the officials to make it clear they wanted Will out of the auditorium. The exact words used to his reps were unclear, but as we've reported, Will refused to exit.
The Academy could have buttonholed the Best Actor presenters and told them in advance ... if Will won, simply say he's not invited on stage and then quickly say "We'll be right back" and then they would go to commercial. That didn't happen, and we're told the reasoning was the Academy officials felt it would make a bad situation even worse.
And, our LAPD sources say the officers on hand not only asked Chris Rock immediately after the incident if he wanted to file a police report, but we're told they followed up a second time and contacted Chris' rep and asked again ... both time cops were told Chris did not want to file.
The Academy is noodling what punishment to exact, and we're told it's "highly unlikely" they'll yank his Oscar. The more likely punishment would be denying him the right to attend next year and present the Best Actress Award.